US 41 Retaining Wall

Reinforced soil retaining walls, commonly known as Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) represent an innovative method of resolving familiar as well as unfamiliar and challenging problems. Instead of regarding soil as a mass to be contained by force, the earth itself is reinforced to become an integral part of the structure. The walls behave as gravity structures in an integral unit and provide structural flexibility. Welded wire mats placed within layers of compacted backfill provide the necessary tensile strength. Native soils at the site or from excavation are often acceptable for backfill. The resulting structure is strong, yet resilient. Hot-dip galvanized (HDG) wire ensures the strength and resiliency is maintained for 75+ years. Hilfiker Retaining Walls designed and patented the Welded Wire Wall in the early 1970's and has since supplied over 7,000 projects throughout the United States, Alaska, Canada, Hawaii, Africa, Indonesia, Siberia and South America.

When the customer is expecting long life expectancy, galvanizing is the hands down choice to ensure the wall lasts for generations. Because maintenance of these walls would be expensive (if not impossible), the specifier needed a proven coating to deliver years of maintenance-free protection – HDG provides that confidence. For tax payers that means the low upfront costs of HDG provides positive returns for many years to come – this is incredibly important in the long term fiscal status of our infrastructure. For the tax payer it is a win-win – low upfront costs combined with long lasting, zero maintenance. On top of that, zinc is infinitely recyclable and a common element in the earth's soils. As a result, no harm will occur to the land or water streams and there will be no worries about costly disposal in 100+ years.

On this project, logistics and material handling were key to the success of the project. The wall design called for long wire wall panels. As you can expect, long panels such as these are difficult to handle and subject to bending. On top of that, the panels and backing mats needed to be choreographed to reach the job site in precise order – construction crews do not wait for anyone and any delay or mis-shipment can bring a project to a halt causing enormous back charges. The turn around times provided by the HDG process were critical. Close communication between the designer, fabricator, truck lines and galvanizer was necessary to accomplish the effective execution of the plan.

Similar to HDG steel rebar, HDG welded wire for retaining walls proves the economic value to the tax payer. As our infrastructure shows rapid decay, the taxpayers want longer solutions with no environmental impact. HDG is a perfect fit. Projects such as this one are perfect examples of the cost effective, flexible, environmentally safe benefits of HDG.

Project Specifics

Year Galvanized
Bridge & Highway
Fox Valley, WI United States
Reason for Galvanizing
Coating Durability, Corrosion Performance, Ease of Specifying, Initial Cost, Life-Cycle Cost
Prior HDG Experience, Quality of HDG, Sustainability, Turnaround Time
Components Galvanized
Welded Wire wall, threaded rod, fasteners, mounting plates
Steel: 500
HDG: 500

Project Members

Hilfiker Retaining Walls - Billy Hilfiker, Harold Hilfiker, Gary Thompson
Member Galvanizer(s)
Valmont Coatings - Salina Galvanizing