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Motorway embankment on sliding slope A1 ”Variante di Valico”

Retaining structures

Project name Motorway embankment on sliding slope A1 ”Variante di Valico” Volume 50.000 m³ expanded clay 0-30 mm Location Florence, Italy Year 2008-2011
Contractor BTP S.p.A., TOTO S.p.A., TODINI S.p.A. Designer Spea Ingegneria Europea S.p.A. Owner/Builder Autostrade per l’Italia S.p.A.


The construction of the “Variante di Valico” is in a mountainous area with risk of landslide due to the poor geotechnical characteristics of the soil.

Why Expanded Clay:

To solve the problems it was chosen to realize vertical lightweight steel reinforced walls in order to minimize the vertical charge and so to reduce the destabilizing forces. The lightweight embankments were built with the use of layers of expanded clay and granular material; the average weight of the embankment is approximately 900 kg/m3.


Throughout the duration of the “Variante di Valico” job, the versatility of expanded clay was appreciated (adapted to the different strata required), as was the speed and the ability to have the necessary quantities with a short lead time.

Key Issues:

Earth preassure, Load reduction, and Stability

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