Geosynthetic reinforced column supported embankments and the role of ground improvement installation effects

Daniel J. King, Abdelmalek Bouazza, Joel R. Gniel, R. Kerry Rowe, Ha H. Bui

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14 Citations (Scopus)


For geosynthetic reinforced column supported embankments (GRCSE) supporting a high embankment, lateral forces associated with lateral sliding and embankment stability often govern the acceptability of a given design under serviceability conditions. Frequently, the complex soil-structure-geosynthetic interaction, the size, and the three-dimensional nature of a GRCSE necessitate the use of numerical analysis to assess embankment performance relative to serviceability criteria. However, traditional finite element method techniques used to model serviceability behaviour are limited in their ability to model the geotechnical mechanisms associated with column installation, equilibration, and group installation effects. These installation effects are examined herein based on a GRCSE field case study located in Melbourne, Australia, that has been extensively instrumented. The role that these installation effects have on the performance of the GRCSE is highlighted and the behaviour of the columns supporting the embankment is emphasized. It is shown that cracking of the unreinforced columns supporting the embankment is likely inevitable and that the reduction of lateral resistance provided by the columns should be accounted for in design. The suitability of various numerical approaches currently used in design to model the columns supporting the GRCSE, and the embankment itself, are discussed and recommendations are made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)792-809
Number of pages18
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Column-supported embankment
  • Field case study
  • Geosynthetic
  • Installation effects

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