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 How It Works


Benches are cut in lifts of typically 4-6 feet.



Holes are drilled into the excavated face. Each drill hole is filled with cement grout and a nail is inserted. The grout binds the nail to the surrounding soil and provides corrosion protection. A steel plate attached to the protruding end of each nail helps transfer forces from the wall to the nail and soil.

1 - best - 1720 - drilling soil nails



Horizontal and vertical drain strips are installed onto the face to eliminate hydrostatic pressure and control seepage.

1706 - along wall


A facing, constructed from shotcrete reinforced by welded wire mesh or reinforcing bar mats, provides structural integrity.

2 - best - 1737 - drilling shot from above


4 - best - 1737 - completed soil nail wall


The shotcrete can be smooth troweled for a finished appearance or sculptured for an architectural look to resemble the local geology.

1737 - complete with stained and sculpted facing


Continuing Construction: After each lift is completed, excavation continues to the next bench and the process is repeated to completion.


Advantages of Soil Nailing:

  • With the right soil and site conditions, a rapid and economical means of constructing earth retention support systems and retaining walls.
  • Allows foundation construction in limited areas.
  • Works through different soil strata.
  • Constructed from the top down.
  • Shorter drill holes.
  • Smaller diameter bars at shorter lengths.
  • Retaining walls are secured laterally into the soil, eliminating piles and foundation footers.
  • Excavation for the building and wall construction can proceed simutaneously, saving schedule time.
  • Not prestressed, saving labor costs and time.
  • Grouting only once is required, saving time and labor.
  • Requires only cohesive soil or broken rock, does not need to be anchored in competent rock.
  • Drainage system included eliminates hydrostatic forces on facing.
  • Hard face shotcrete is applied and can be finish-troweled.
  • Forming and placing concrete wall not necessary, saving time, materials, labor.
  • Soft facing can be applied for soil retention or slope protection.


Better Roads Publication - "Soil Nailing - DOTs Warm Up to New Technology"


Project: Omaha I-80 Realignment

Judy Company was the Soil Nail Wall subcontractor for this project

The Roadrunner Magazine - Nebraska Department of Roads - Page 5 Article "Aesthetic Wall Provides Impressive New Eastern Gateway into Nebraska"