Three-dimensional responses observed in an internally braced excavation in soft clay

J. Tanner Blackburn*, Richard J. Finno

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Several three-dimensional effects were observed in the performance monitoring data collected during excavation for the Ford Engineering Design Center in Evanston, Illinois. The elevations of the soil around the excavation varied and the excavator removed the soil in a nonuniform excavation process, both of which contributed to the observed three-dimensional (3D) effects. This paper describes the excavation support system and subsurface conditions at the site, summarizes the construction procedures, and presents the lateral soil movements measured by inclinometers, ground-surface movements measured by an automated total station, tilt of components of an adjacent structure, and forces in internal braces. These responses are compared with expected responses from current design methods. The 3D nature of the excavation resulted in smaller movements on the side of the excavation, where the retained soil was lowest, an unexpected pattern of axial strut loads and very slight damage to an exterior wall that paralleled one of the excavation walls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1364-1373
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Bracing
  • Clays
  • Excavation
  • Soft soils
  • Three-dimensional analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Environmental Science(all)


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