One of the challenges of the lot on which the Willow Grove Branch sits is that it initially sloped down to railroad tracks at the rear of the property. We noted the beginnings of the retaining wall necessary to level the property in an earlier post. In addition to that purpose, it also creates a separation between our parking lot and the railroad tracks.
In the photo that opens this post, you can see the entire length of the wall along the back of the property. And we're still not done. The wall currently stands about 19 feet, and when it's completed, it should be around 25 feet tall.
The thing about a wall is that it's not nearly as simple as it might first appear. For instance, you can't just stack a bunch of cinder blocks on top of one another and expect it to hold against even a small weight, nevermind the tons of dirt that are pressing against this wall. Each semi-hollow block is carefully placed then filled with material. After a line of blocks is placed, a layer of geofabric is laid on top, and the next layer begins anew. This fabric (which you can see to the right) prevents the water that trickles down the interior of the bricks from displacing the fill material (stone, dirt, etc.) within each brick. The water travels freely, the fill material stays where it is instead of getting washed away. Then after a certain number of layers of brick are placed, dirt is filled in against the wall. That's essentially what the wall is retaining: a whole lot of dirt on which a parking lot will be built.
This last photo gives a sense of how the wall wraps around the rear of the property, and shows just how high it is.
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9 hours ago