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Technical paper: Design methods for basally reinforced pile-supported embankments over soft ground

Dr Jerry Love and Dr George Milligan, Geotechnical Consulting Group. This paper was first published in GE’s March 2003 edition.


The use of high strength geosynthetics to transfer loading on to piles is now an established and increasingly popular technique for carrying embankments over very soft ground (Figure la). Many successful case histories, both in this country and abroad, have been reported in the literature over recent years.

The precise mechanism by which load is transferred to the geosynthetics, however, remains relatively poorly understood. It is felt that while several design methods currently exist, none yet truly captures the key characteristics of these complex structures.

This paper highlights some of the inconsistencies which exist in current design methodology, in particular BS8006 Section 8, and identifies important issues in the design of such 

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