Three decades of soft soil engineering in SE Queensland

Peter Hollingsworth Honoured Lecture

Dr Jay Ameratunga

In appreciation of Peter Hollingsworth, AGS QLD has initiated an honoured lecture series, named after him. The Peter Hollingsworth Honoured Lecture will be delivered every two years, starting from 2023.

The winner of Peter Hollingsworth Honoured Lecture in 2023 is Dr. Jay Ameratunga who will talk about Three decades of soft soil engineering in SE Queensland.

About Peter Hollingsworth

Peter Hollingsworth qualified as a civil engineer from the University of Queensland in 1951 and as a licensed surveyor in 1954. He worked in North Queensland and Papua New Guinea until the end of 1956. He was involved in the construction of Warragamba dam, design and construction of precast prestressed concrete structures and problem foundations throughout Australia. In 1962 partnered the founding of Coffey & Hollingsworth consulting in Geotechnical engineering in Australia and Southeast Asia. In 1974 he founded Hollingsworth Consultants specialising in Environmental impact studies and Geotechnical Engineering in Australia and Papua New Guinea. In 1989 the firm merged with Dames & Moore and entered the world of waste management engineering. He retired from the firm in 1993 and continued as a consultant (Hollingsworth Project Consultant) in business development in engineering.

About the presentation

This technical presentation is based on the experiences of Dr Jay Ameratunga who has dealt with soft soils in Southeast Queensland since 1993. Soft soil engineering has grown rapidly in the past half century with collaboration from academics, researchers and practising professionals. Geotechnical engineers in Southeast Queensland have been a part of this journey which has culminated in the current State-of-the-Art. The 1-hour presentation will discuss the evolution of soft soil engineering over the last three decades in Southeast Queensland, especially field investigations, laboratory testing, instrumentation and monitoring.

Most importantly, the derivation of geotechnical parameters to setting up of geotechnical models is critical if any design is to be carried out covering soft soil areas. It is the intention of this presentation to identify the critical design parameters to deal with compressibility and stability and suggest methods of parameter derivation. Case studies are very important in our profession, and it is intended to complete the lecture by discussing a case study which is a prime example of geotechnical innovation.

About the speaker

Dr Jay Ameratunga Senior Principal Geotechnical Engineer, Tonkin+Taylor

Dr Jay Ameratunga has been a practising civil engineer for over 40 years specialising in geotechnical engineering, with the last three decades mainly in Queensland. He has worked in Coffey, Golder and WSP and currently attached to Tonkin+Taylor. His soft soil engineering journey started in Sri Lanka in 1980s, where he was the team leader of a UNDP project on appropriate foundations for low lying areas of Colombo. Jay has worked on numerous projects across Australia as well as in New Zealand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Singapore. He has wide experience in major projects and has been involved in major ports, roads and highways, land developments, buildings and tunnels. Jay has close collaboration with universities in Queensland and NSW, including several ARC projects and PhD students. He enjoys mentoring young engineers. Jay was the Geotechnical Team Leader for the FPE Seawall project at the Port of Brisbane which consisted of the design and construction of a 4.6 km seawall in the Moreton Bay and won several industry awards. He was the Project Director and Technical Leader for the Ground Improvement Trials conducted at the Port of Brisbane which won the Innovation Award from the Institution of Engineers, Queensland. He has been assisting the Port of Brisbane as a reclamation and ground improvement specialist for the port expansion works over the last decade. Jay has been involved with many land development projects where weak soft clay was present. He has provided solutions from doing nothing but managing settlement across the development, preloading and surcharging with or without wick drains, and the use of semi-rigid inclusions such as CMCs. He has co-authored close to 50 technical papers and has published two books, “Correlations of Soil and Rock Properties in Geotechnical Engineering” and “Soft Clay Engineering and Ground Improvement”.

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