Title:
Retaining wall and method of making same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A retaining wall is provided that may include a first/bottom mat, a second/top mat and a third/cap mat. Each of the mats may include a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid and may have a generally flat section. Each of the first and second mats may also include an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section. The upstanding sections may be inclined backwardly toward the generally flat sections. The upstanding section of the first mat may also include a plurality of extension members extending upwardly from an upper end of the upstanding section at an angle in relation to the upstanding section of the first mat, and be adapted for engagement with the second mat. The third mat may include a face section extending downwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the third mat, which face section may be adapted for engagement with the upstanding section of the second mat, such as by means of a hook. One or more support members may be attached to the first and second mats to prevent the upstanding sections of the mats from bowing or inclining outwardly. Related methods are also provided.



Inventors:
Robertson, David G. (Perrin, TX, US)
Ogorchock, John M. (Spring, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/876171
Publication Date:
12/29/2005
Filing Date:
06/23/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D17/00; E02D29/02; (IPC1-7): E02D17/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAYO-PINNOCK, TARA LEIGH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
C. DALE QUISENBERRY (POLASEK, QUISENBERRY & ERRINGTON, L.L.P. Suite 920 6750 West Loop South, Bellaire, TX, 77401, US)
Claims:
1. A retaining wall comprising: at least one first mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the at least one first mat having a generally flat section and an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the first mat, the upstanding section of the first mat including a plurality of extension members extending upwardly from an upper end of the upstanding section of the first mat at an angle in relation to the upstanding section of the first mat; and a second mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the second mat having a generally flat section and an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the second mat, whereby the extension members on the first mat are adapted for engagement with the second mat.

2. The retaining wall of claim 1, further including a third mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the third mat having a generally flat section and a face section extending downwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the third mat, whereby the face section is adapted for engagement with the upstanding section of the second mat.

3. The retaining wall of claim 2, wherein the third mat further includes at least one hook member adapted for engagement with an uppermost elongated member on the upstanding section of the second mat.

4. The retaining wall of claim 1, wherein each grid is formed of welded wires.

5. The retaining wall of claim 1, wherein the upstanding section of the first mat is inclined upwardly from the generally flat section of the first mat when in a relaxed state.

6. The retaining wall of claim 5, wherein the angle between the upstanding section of the first mat and the generally flat section of the first mat is between approximately 75 and 80 degrees when in the relaxed state.

7. The retaining wall of claim 1, wherein the upstanding section of the second mat is inclined upwardly from the generally flat section of the second mat when in a relaxed state.

8. The retaining wall of claim 7, wherein the angle between the upstanding section of the second mat and the generally flat section of the second mat is between approximately 75 and 80 degrees when in the relaxed state.

9. The retaining wall of claim 1, further including at least one support member connected between one of the elongated members in the flat section of the first mat and one of the elongated members in the upstanding section of the first mat.

10. The retaining wall of claim 1, further including at least one support member connected between one of the elongated members in the flat section of the second mat and one of the elongated members in the upstanding section of the second mat.

11. The retaining wall of claim 1, further including a first section of filter material disposed adjacent a back surface of the upstanding section of the first mat, and a second section of filter material disposed adjacent a back surface of the upstanding section of the second mat.

12. The retaining wall of claim 1, further including at least one face mat disposed adjacent a back surface of at least one of the upstanding sections of the first and second mats.

13. The retaining wall of claim 12, further including at least one section of filter material placed in one of a position between the face mat and the upstanding section and a position behind and against the face mat.

13. A retaining wall comprising: at least one first mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the at least one first mat having a generally flat section and an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the first mat, the upstanding section being backwardly inclined toward the generally flat section when in a relaxed state, the upstanding section of the first mat including a plurality of extension members extending upwardly from an upper end of the upstanding section of the first mat at an angle in relation to the upstanding section of the first mat; and a second mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the second mat having a generally flat section and an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the second mat, the upstanding section being backwardly inclined toward the generally flat section when in a relaxed state, whereby the extension members on the first mat are adapted for engagement with the second mat.

14. The retaining wall of claim 12, further including at least one support member attached to one of the first and second mats and adapted to restrict the upstanding member of the respective first or second mat from flexing past a generally upright vertical position.

15. The retaining wall of claim 12, further including a third mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the third mat having a generally flat section and a face section extending downwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the third mat, whereby the face section is adapted for engagement with the upstanding section of the second mat.

16. The retaining wall of claim 14, wherein the third mat further includes at least one hook member adapted for engagement with an uppermost elongated member on the upstanding section of the second mat.

17. A retaining wall comprising: at least one first mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the at least one first mat having a generally flat section and an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the first mat, the upstanding section of the first mat including a plurality of extension members extending upwardly from an upper end of the upstanding section of the first mat at an angle in relation to the upstanding section of the first mat; at least one first-mat support member connected between one of the elongated members in the flat section of the first mat and one of the elongated members in the upstanding section of the first mat; a second mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the second mat having a generally flat section and an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the second mat, the upstanding section being backwardly inclined toward the generally flat section when in a relaxed state, whereby the extension members on the first mat are adapted for engagement with the second mat; and at least one second-mat support member connected between one of the elongated members in the flat section of the second mat and one of the elongated members in the upstanding section of the second mat.

18. The retaining wall of claim 16, further including a third mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the third mat having a generally flat section and a face section extending downwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the third mat, whereby the face section is adapted for engagement with the upstanding section of the second mat.

19. The retaining wall of claim 17, wherein the third mat further includes at least one hook member adapted for engagement with an uppermost elongated member on the upstanding section of the second mat.

20. A method of constructing a retaining wall comprising: positioning a first mat on a surface, the first mat being constructed of a plurality of elongated members connected in a grid-like fashion and having a generally flat section and an upstanding section, the upstanding section of the first mat including a plurality of generally straight extension members extending upwardly from an upper end of the upstanding section of the first mat at an angle in relation to the upstanding section of the first mat; positioning a first section of filter material adjacent a back surface of the upstanding member of the first mat; positioning a portion of soil on the flat section of the first mat so as to hold the filter material in place; positioning a second mat on top of the soil on the first mat, the second mat being constructed of a plurality of elongated members connected in a grid-like fashion and having a generally flat section and an upstanding section, and engaging the extension members on the upstanding section of the first mat with the second mat.

21. The retaining wall of claim 19, wherein the portion of soil on the flat section of the first mat has an upper surface substantially horizontally level with the upper end of the upstanding section of the first mat.

22. The retaining wall of claim 19, wherein the upstanding section of the first mat is inclined backwardly toward the generally flat section of the first mat when in a relaxed state, and is flexed forwardly to a generally upright vertical position when the portion of soil has been positioned on the flat section of the first mat.

23. The retaining wall of claim 19, further including connecting at least on support member to the first mat to restrict the upstanding section of the first mat from extending away from the generally flat section of the first mat beyond a generally upright vertical position.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally pertains to retaining walls, and more particularly to retaining walls made from grid-like components, and to methods of making such retaining walls.

2. Description of the Related Art

It is known within a variety of fields to construct retaining walls for various purposes. Within the road construction industry, for example, it is known to erect temporary and permanent retaining walls for embankments, roadway supports, bridge abutments and the like. It is also known that these retaining walls can be constructed using a variety of techniques and materials, including, for example, concrete and/or welded wire components. An example of a precast modular wall panel is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,259,704 to Ogorchock. Examples of retaining walls constructed using welded wire components may be found in a number of U.S. patents, including, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,117,686 to Hilfiker, 4,329,089 to Hilfiker et al., 4,391,557 to Hilfiker et al., 4,505,621 to Hilfiker et al., 4,856,939 to Hilfiker, and 5,722,799 to Hilfiker. As will become apparent from the following description and discussion, however, the present invention, which is also directed to retaining walls that may be constructed with welded wire components, overcomes the deficiencies of the previous patents and constitutes an improved and more cost-effective retaining wall in comparison to the walls and methods disclosed in the above-listed patents.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the present invention may be a retaining wall comprising: at least one first mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the at least one first mat having a generally flat section and an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the first mat, the upstanding section of the first mat including a plurality of extension members extending upwardly from an upper end of the upstanding section of the first mat at an angle in relation to the upstanding section of the first mat; and a second mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the second mat having a generally flat section and an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the second mat, whereby the extension members on the first mat are adapted for engagement with the second mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the wall may further include a third mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the third mat having a generally flat section and a face section extending downwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the third mat, whereby the face section is adapted for engagement with the upstanding section of the second mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the third mat may further include at least one hook member adapted for engagement with an uppermost elongated member on the upstanding section of the second mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that each grid is formed of welded wires. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the upstanding section of the first mat is inclined upwardly from the generally flat section of the first mat when in a relaxed state. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the angle between the upstanding section of the first mat and the generally flat section of the first mat is between approximately 75 and 80 degrees when in the relaxed state. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the upstanding section of the second mat is inclined upwardly from the generally flat section of the second mat when in a relaxed state. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the angle between the upstanding section of the second mat and the generally flat section of the second mat is between approximately 75 and 80 degrees when in the relaxed state. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the wall may further include at least one support member connected between one of the elongated members in the flat section of the first mat and one of the elongated members in the upstanding section of the first mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the wall may further include at least one support member connected between one of the elongated members in the flat section of the second mat and one of the elongated members in the upstanding section of the second mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the wall may further include a first section of filter material disposed adjacent a back surface of the upstanding section of the first mat, and a second section of filter material disposed adjacent a back surface of the upstanding section of the second mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the wall may further include at least one face mat disposed adjacent a back surface of at least one of the upstanding sections of the first and second mats. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the wall may further include at least one section of filter material placed in one of a position between the face mat and the upstanding section and a position behind and against the face mat.

In another aspect, the present invention may be a retaining wall comprising: at least one first mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the at least one first mat having a generally flat section and an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the first mat, the upstanding section being backwardly inclined toward the generally flat section when in a relaxed state, the upstanding section of the first mat including a plurality of extension members extending upwardly from an upper end of the upstanding section of the first mat at an angle in relation to the upstanding section of the first mat; and a second mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the second mat having a generally flat section and an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the second mat, the upstanding section being backwardly inclined toward the generally flat section when in a relaxed state, whereby the extension members on the first mat are adapted for engagement with the second mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the wall may further include at least one support member attached to one of the first and second mats and adapted to restrict the upstanding member of the respective first or second mat from flexing past a generally upright vertical position. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the wall may further include a third mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the third mat having a generally flat section and a face section extending downwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the third mat, whereby the face section is adapted for engagement with the upstanding section of the second mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the third mat further includes at least one hook member adapted for engagement with an uppermost elongated member on the upstanding section of the second mat.

In still another aspect, the present invention may be a retaining wall comprising: at least one first mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the at least one first mat having a generally flat section and an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the first mat, the upstanding section of the first mat including a plurality of extension members extending upwardly from an upper end of the upstanding section of the first mat at an angle in relation to the upstanding section of the first mat; at least one first-mat support member connected between one of the elongated members in the flat section of the first mat and one of the elongated members in the upstanding section of the first mat; a second mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the second mat having a generally flat section and an upstanding section extending upwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the second mat, the upstanding section being backwardly inclined toward the generally flat section when in a relaxed state, whereby the extension members on the first mat are adapted for engagement with the second mat; and at least one second-mat support member connected between one of the elongated members in the flat section of the second mat and one of the elongated members in the upstanding section of the second mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the wall may further include a third mat including a plurality of elongated members connected to form a grid, the third mat having a generally flat section and a face section extending downwardly from a forward edge of the generally flat section of the third mat, whereby the face section is adapted for engagement with the upstanding section of the second mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the third mat further includes at least one hook member adapted for engagement with an uppermost elongated member on the upstanding section of the second mat.

In yet another aspect, the present invention may be a method of constructing a retaining wall comprising: positioning a first mat on a surface, the first mat being constructed of a plurality of elongated members connected in a grid-like fashion and having a generally flat section and an upstanding section, the upstanding section of the first mat including a plurality of generally straight extension members extending upwardly from an upper end of the upstanding section of the first mat at an angle in relation to the upstanding section of the first mat; positioning a first section of filter material adjacent a back surface of the upstanding member of the first mat; positioning a portion of soil on the flat section of the first mat so as to hold the filter material in place; positioning a second mat on top of the soil on the first mat, the second mat being constructed of a plurality of elongated members connected in a grid-like fashion and having a generally flat section and an upstanding section, and engaging the extension members on the upstanding section of the first mat with the second mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the portion of soil on the flat section of the first mat has an upper surface substantially horizontally level with the upper end of the upstanding section of the first mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the upstanding section of the first mat is inclined backwardly toward the generally flat section of the first mat when in a relaxed state, and is flexed forwardly to a generally upright vertical position when the portion of soil has been positioned on the flat section of the first mat. Another feature of this aspect of the invention may be that the wall may further include connecting at least on support member to the first mat to restrict the upstanding section of the first mat from extending away from the generally flat section of the first mat beyond a generally upright vertical position.

Other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following discussion and detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded, perspective view of a specific embodiment of welded wire components that may be used to construct a retaining wall in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of a specific embodiment of a first, or bottom, welded-wire mat of the type shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side view of a specific embodiment of a second, or top, welded-wire mat of the type shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a side view of a specific embodiment of a third, or cap, welded-wire mat of the type shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a side view of a specific embodiment of a first mat with a portion of soil or other fill materials placed thereon.

FIG. 6 is a side view as shown in FIG. 5 but with a filter material added and additional soil added so as to hold the filter material in place.

FIG. 7 is a side view showing a mat being placed on top of the mat and soil shown in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view illustrating the use of a face mat placed behind and against an upstanding section of a mat.

While the invention will be described in connection with the preferred embodiments, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to those embodiments. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings in detail, wherein like numerals denote identical elements throughout the several views, there is shown in FIG. 1 an exploded, perspective view of specific embodiments of a group of welded wire components that may be used to construct a retaining wall in accordance with the present invention. In a specific embodiment, the welded wire components may include (1) at least one first, or bottom, mat 10, (2) a second, or top, mat 12, and (3) a third, or cap, mat 14.

With reference to FIG. 1, the at least one first mat 10 may include a plurality of elongated members 16 connected to form a grid. In a specific embodiment, the grid may be formed of welded wires. The at least one first mat 10 may include a generally flat section 18 and an upstanding section 20 extending upwardly from a forward edge 22 of the generally flat section 18 of the first mat 10. The upstanding section 20 of the first mat 10 may include a plurality of generally straight extension members 24 extending upwardly from an upper end 26 of the upstanding section 20 of the first mat 10 at an angle in relation to the upstanding section 20 of the first mat 10, as best shown in FIG. 2, which is a side view of a specific embodiment of the first mat 10. As also shown in FIG. 2, in a specific embodiment, the upstanding section 20 of the first mat 10 may extend upwardly from the generally flat section 18 of the first mat 10 at an angle α in relation to the generally flat section 18 when in a relaxed, or un-flexed, state. In a specific embodiment, the angle α may be in the range between approximately 75 to 80 degrees.

As best shown in FIG. 1, the second mat 12 may include a plurality of elongated members 16 (e.g., welded wires) connected to form a grid. The second mat 12 may include a generally flat section 28 and an upstanding section 30 extending upwardly from a forward edge 32 of the generally flat section 28 of the second mat 12. As best shown in FIG. 3, which is a side view of the second mat 12, in a specific embodiment, the upstanding section 30 of the second mat 12 may extend upwardly from the generally flat section 28 of the second mat 12 at an angle β in relation to the generally flat section 28 when in a relaxed, or un-flexed, state. In a specific embodiment, the angle β may be in the range between approximately 75 to 80 degrees. As will be more fully explained below, the extension members 24 on the first mat 10 are adapted for engagement with the second mat 12 adjacent the forward edge 32 of the second mat 12 when the retaining wall of the present invention is being constructed.

As best shown in FIG. 1, the third mat 14 may include a plurality of elongated members 16 (e.g., welded wires) connected to form a grid. The third mat 14 may include a generally flat section 34 and a face section 36 extending downwardly from a forward edge 38 of the generally flat section 34 of the third mat 14. As best shown in FIG. 4, which is a side view of the third/cap mat 14, in a specific embodiment, the face section 36 may include one or more hook members 40 adapted for engagement with the upstanding section 30 of the second mat 12, as will be more fully discussed below.

With reference to FIG. 3, in another specific embodiment, the second mat 12 may further include one or more support members 42 connected between one of the wire members 16 on the generally flat section 28 of the second mat 12 and one of the wire members 16 on the upstanding section 30 of the second mat 12. In a specific embodiment, each end of each support member 42 may terminate in a hook so as to facilitate connection of the support members 42 between the generally flat section 28 and the upstanding section 30. One or more support members 42 may also be connected to the first mat 10 in the same manner as shown in FIG. 3 and explained here with regard to the second mat 12. The support members 42 may be sized so as to permit the upstanding section 20/30 to flex outwardly, such as into a generally upright position when soil is placed onto the mats 10/12 and back-filled against the upstanding sections 20/30, as more fully discussed below. In this manner, there may be some slack or range of movement when the support members 42 are initially attached. But when soil is back-filled on top of the mats 10/12 and against the upstanding sections 20/30, the connection between the support members 42 and the mats 10/12 will tighten up. The support members 42 may be sized and positioned to as to prevent the upstanding sections 20/30 from bowing outwardly and/or inclining outwardly beyond a generally upright vertical position.

As shown in FIG. 8, in another specific embodiment, a face mat 50 may be positioned behind and against the upstanding section 20 of the first mat 10. The face mat 50 may include a plurality of elongated members 16 connected to form a grid, such as a grid of welded wires. The face mat 50 may also include a plurality of extension members 52 along a lower edge of the face mat 50 to engage or interlock with the elongated members 16 on the flat section 18 of the first mat 10. The face mat 50 is preferably used to add strength when the above-described components are used to construct a permanent, as opposed to a temporary, wall. While the face mat 50 has been illustrated for use with the first mat 10, it may also be used in the same way in conjunction with the second mat 12. The filter material 46 may be positioned between the face mat 50 and the upstanding sections 20/30, or behind and against the face mat 50 in the same manner as explained above with regard to the upstanding sections 20/30.

The manner in which the above-described components may be used to construct a retaining wall, such as a temporary or permanent earth wall for use in the road construction industry, will now be explained.

After the earth's surface on which the wall is to be placed has been graded, a first mat 10 is placed on the graded surface. As shown in FIG. 5, a portion of soil or other fill material 44 is placed over a rearward portion of the generally flat section 18 of the first mat 10. In a specific embodiment, the depth of the soil or other material 44 may be approximately nine (9) inches deep. The soil 44 is preferably not placed near the upstanding section 20 at this time. As shown in FIG. 6, this may be done so as to allow for placement of a filter material 46 (such as a fabric material) adjacent a back side 21 of the upstanding member 20. The filter material 46 is preferably folded to cover a portion of a top side 19 of the flat section 18 near the forward edge 22 thereof. Rolls of filter material 46 are shown in FIG. 1. If a face mat 50 is to be used, it may be placed behind and against the upstanding section 20 of the first mat 10 either before or after the filter material 46 is placed into position. Additional soil or other fill material 48 is added on top of the soil 44 and the first mat 10 and leveled off even with the top of the upstanding section 20. The additional soil 48 is preferably added in layers of approximately nine inches in depth, and is also preferably compacted to approximately 95% compaction. The additional soil 48 is added so as to hold the filter material 46 against the upstanding section 20, and also in such a manner to preferably push, or flex, the upstanding section 20 into an approximately vertical, or generally upright, position (i.e., the upstanding section 20 is no longer backwardly inclined and the angle α is now approximately ninety (90) degrees or thereabouts). One of the benefits of backwardly-inclined upstanding sections 20/30 is that the likelihood that the upstanding sections 20/30 will bow, or incline, outwardly is reduced. For example, if every face section inclines outwardly just one inch, when this is magnified over a number of layers of the wall the overall wall could be leaning outwardly by a distance of one foot or more. As discussed above, the use of support members 42 may also be used to prevent the upstanding sections 20/30 from inclining outwardly, such as beyond a generally upright vertical position.

With reference to FIG. 7, depending on the overall desired height of the retaining wall to be constructed, the next step will be to either add another first mat 10 or a second mat 12 on top of the structure shown in FIG. 6. In either event, when the next mat is added, it is positioned so that the extension members 24 engage (e.g., by interlocking) with the mat 10/12 being added at the forward edge 22/32 thereof. The process described above of adding soil 44/48, filter material 46 and/or face mats 50 is continued until the top row is reached, at which time the process is again repeated with the second, or top, mat 12. The final step is to place the third, or cap, mat 14 over the soil on top of the top mat 12, and then connect it to the second, or top, mat 12. In a specific embodiment, the cap mat 14 may be connected to the top mat 12 by engaging the one or more hooks 40 on the top mat 14 (see FIG. 4) with the uppermost elongated member 16 on the upstanding section 30 of the top mat 12. This process may be repeated any number of times depending on the desired length of the retaining wall to be constructed.

It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the exact details of construction, operation, exact materials or embodiments shown and described, as obvious modifications and equivalents will be apparent to one skilled in the art. Accordingly, the invention is therefore to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.