Shotcrete as Roadside Slope Protection in Brazil

The use of shotcrete has proven to be of paramount importance in the treatment process of the slopes along the margins of SP 333 highway in the interior of the state of São Paulo, Brazil. This application focused on a stretch covering kilometers 337 to 385, connecting the cities of Marília and Assis. The implementation of shotcrete in this challenging location represents not only a technical choice but also a strategic response to the specific challenges presented by the slopes along this section of the highway


The Tuscarora Mountain Tunnels in Pennsylvania have a fascinating history. The older of the two tunnels, built between 1938 and 1940, was designed to carry a railroad that never came into service. Industrialists of the day, William Henry Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie, were backers of the scheme which was halted when they struck a deal with rival railroad owners.


On August 14, 2021, the Caldor Fire started in Northern California near Pollock Pines, CA. The fire ended up consuming almost 222,000 acres (90,000 hectares) and seriously threatened South Lake Tahoe. Besides the over 1000 structures that were lost, the fire also burned along a major portion of the El Dorado Irrigation District’s Canal (EID) which provides drinking and irrigation water to numerous communities throughout the area


Multi-million dollar underground stations are currently under construction on Metro and LRT lines in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Traditionally, the thick, heavily reinforced structural concrete station walls have been constructed using the conventional form-and-pour concrete construction method. This construction method, while widely used, is not without its challenges.

Many of the underground station sites are in congested urban areas with limited spaces for laydown of concrete formwork, and crane access time for handling and installation of formwork is often on a critical path for completion of station construction.


This retaining wall was contracted for a new townhouse development project in Squamish, BC, Canada. Vancouver Shotcrete & Shoring Inc. has serviced many municipalities and private companies over the past 30 years in the fields of shotcrete shoring, pools, and custom rockscapes.

The shotcrete retaining wall was designed to be anchored by Titan 40 self-drilling anchors with a test load capacity of 52,000 lbs (24,000 kg) each, spaced every 6 ft (2 m) on center. The temporary 4 in. (100 mm) shotcrete was reinforced with 4 x 4 x 1 in. (100 x 100 x 25 mm) welded wire mesh, with a 0.8 in. (20 mm) continuous whaler lining to span the load between each anchor. The engineer specified a 5800 psi (40 MPa) shotcrete mix for this purpose.

I have a project with a segmental retaining wall. The project is located in Maryland. The CMUs of the retaining wall have significantly deteriorated in several areas. The geo-grid fabric appears to be in good condition in the areas where it could be observed. I suspect the deterioration is caused by saltwater runoff during snow events combined with the freeze/thaw cycles. There are some localized areas where the masonry units have completely disintegrated. The largest area being approximately 4 ft2 (0.37 m2). Is it feasible to remove the deteriorated masonry material, down to a sound surface, and shotcrete the face to restore (or exceed) the structural integrity of masonry units? If so, will this restore the structural integrity of the segmental retaining wall?

Shotcrete is routinely used for the repair of deteriorated concrete masonry and brick. Shotcrete should easily have a minimum compressive strength of 4000 psi (28 MPa) when properly shot and cured. According to the National Concrete Masonry Association, current CMU units have a minimum 2000 psi (14 MPa) compressive strength. Older CMU had a lower 1500 psi (10 MPa) minimum. Thus, the shotcrete placement will be significantly stronger and less permeable than the in-place CMU. This should give the wall better resistance to saltwater and freeze-thaw exposures thus extending useful life.

Depending on the depth of the new shotcrete placement, you may consider mechanically tying the shotcreted layer back to the sound CMU with epoxy or mechanically embedded anchors or j-bolts. Thicker sections may also benefit from the use of a steel wire mesh or fibers.

When shooting onto existing CMU sections, the surface must be properly prepared and then shotcreted with proper shotcrete materials, equipment, and placement techniques. Shotcrete placed onto an existing CMU surface will provide an excellent bond IF the following conditions are met:

  • Make sure the surface is roughened and clean.
  • The amplitude of roughness should be +/- 1/8th in. (3 mm) or more.
  • A high-pressure water blaster (5000 psi [34 MPa] or more) or abrasive blasting can help to roughen and clean the surface.
  • Bring the CMU surface to a saturated surface dry (SSD) condition. This means the surface feels damp, but water is not picked up on a hand.
  • Make sure the shotcrete placement is properly executed with high-velocity placement and quality materials.
  • The shotcrete should have a minimum 28-day compressive strength of 4000 psi (28 MPa).
  • Be sure the shotcrete contractor is using an air compressor able to produce at least 185 CFM (5.2m3/min) for wet-mix and 375 CFM (10.6 m3/min) for dry-mix (gunite) of air flow at 100 to 120 psi (0.7 to 0.8 MPa).
  • Use of an ACI-certified shotcrete nozzleman is recommended.
  • No bonding agent should be used. It will interfere with the natural bonding characteristics of shotcrete placement.

Finally, without details on the loading conditions, and structural details of the original construction, we cannot comment on the structural integrity of the repaired wall. You should contact a professional engineer experienced in concrete repair to evaluate the structural integrity of the wall when repaired.

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Spraying Shotcrete on Synthetic Sheet Waterproofing Membranes


Spraying Shotcrete Overhead in Underground Applications


Curing of Shotcrete for Swimming Pools


Forming and Substrates in Pool Shotcrete


Monolithic Shotcrete for Swimming Pools (No Cold Joints)


Watertight Shotcrete for Swimming Pools


Sustainability of Shotcrete in the Pool Industry


Shotcrete Terminology


Compressive Strength Values of Pool Shotcrete