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Counterforts are used for high walls with height greater than 8 to 12 m. They are also used in situations where there is high lateral pressure, i.e. where the backfill soils are heavily surcharged.
The counterforts tie the base slab and wall stem together and they act as tension bracing which strengthen the connection between wall and base slab. The counterforts help to reduce bending moment and shear forces induced by soil pressure to the retaining wall. Moreover, it also serves to increase the self-weight of the retaining wall which adds stability to the retaining wall.
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