Burns Cooley Dennis, Inc. (BCD) and Ardurra, Inc. were honored to receive the 2024 ACEC-MS Engineering Excellence Grand Conceptor Award during the annual Awards Banquet at Hal & Mal’s on April 4th in Jackson, MS.

BCD and Ardurra teamed to develop a stabilization solution for the 120-ft high bluff above the Mississippi River where the Natchez National Cemetery is located. Erosion, sloughing, and caving of the bluff during heavy rain events over the years had resulted in significant regression of the top of the bluff towards the cemetery, which is the final resting place for over 7,100 U.S. veterans.

The stabilization system designed by BCD consisted of a 1,270-ft long retaining wall ranging in height from 35 feet to 48 feet, containing over 1,000 soil nails ranging in length from 15 feet to 35 feet, and 89 prestressed anchors ranging in length from 90 feet to 210 feet. Ardurra also designed drainage systems to collect and route storm water to the bottom of the bluff.

BCD and Ardurra faced significant challenges in the design and construction of the stabilization system due to limited land space and access, a steep slope face, and continuing regression and changing geometry of the bluff during the design and construction processes.