Engineers Australia

Geosynthetic Reinforced Column Supported Embankments – Designing for serviceability

D. King, J. Gniel, L. King and A. Bouazza


If designed correctly, geosynthetic-reinforced column supported embankments (GRCSEs) can be used to provide a form of semi-rigid ground improvement. The technique is being increasingly used in the transport infrastructure sector for road and rail applications due mainly to its perceived ability to meet strict serviceability performance criteria in a relatively short construction timeframe. However, in many cases, the steps required to meet post-construction serviceability criteria are overlooked, not fully achieved or misunderstood. This paper uses several concepts relating to the serviceability behaviour of GRCSEs to highlight the limitations of existing design methods in addressing aspects of serviceability behaviour and discusses the implications these pose for design. Guidance on assessing serviceability behaviour is provided to enable designers to address total and differential settlement as part of a more complete assessment of GRCSE performance.