Retaining Wall

  • Centex Homes submits plans for new retaining wall at Rivermist

    Centex design for retaining wall

    Nearly two months after a retaining wall split open at the Hills of Rivermist in San Antonio, Centex Homes submitted plans to the city for a new wall that is reinforced with concrete piers and will cost at least $4 million:

    Centex Homes is hoping the third time’s the charm. This week it produced a preliminary design concept for a new retaining wall to replace one that collapsed in January in a Northwest Side neighborhood — which in 2007 replaced one that was not “performing to expectations.”

    But homeowners say they are weary after two months of stress and uncertainty and are still on the fence about whether to trust that this latest fix will last.

    The builder and developer of Rivermist and The Hills of Rivermist told the city it plans a wall 1,700 feet long. The new wall will be built in front of the existing retaining wall, and will include reinforced concrete piers driven 10 to 30 feet into the ground and reinforced concrete panels between the piers, Centex said in a news release.

    The company will give the city formal engineering plans by April 30. It expects construction to take four to six months and cost $4 million to $5 million.

    The original structure was a gravity wall, which relied on the heavy weight of stone and mortar to remain stable. But after the collapse, city officials inspected the wall and claimed it lacked a solid core of mortar, which makes the wall lighter — and unstable.

  • Centex Homes wrong about wall threat

    The day after a large retaining wall collapsed at The Hills of Rivermist in San Antonio, Centex Homes held a private meeting with residents. Outsiders, including city officials, weren’t invited.

    Retaining Wall Front PageWe received a video of the entire meeting, which shows Centex claimed that the neighborhood was safe because city firefighters were leaving.

    That was news to city officials:

    “That’s a pretty bold statement for them to make,” Assistant City Manager Erik Walsh wrote colleagues at City Hall on Jan. 25 in an e-mail. Walsh pointed out that Centex was actually hiring off-duty technical rescue firefighters to stand by at the scene.

    In addition to the video of the meeting, our story today offers links to city e-mails discussing the retaining wall collapse and Centex’s safety claims.