Recent advances in the design of Australia’s transport infrastructure: an overview of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering ActivitiesKeynote Address

G. Kouretzis, S. W. Sloan and O. Buzzi

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering (CGSE) was established in 2011 to pioneer new scientific approaches for the design of Australia’s energy and transport infrastructure. This paper presents an overview of selected CGSE projects relevant to testing and modelling of soft soils, the development of computational methods for the failure analysis of geotechnical infrastructure, and the assessment and mitigation of rockfall hazard. The first part is dedicated to findings from Australia’s first National Field Testing Facility for soft soils, established by the CGSE in Ballina, NSW. Emphasis is put on i) the geotechnical characterisation of soft estuarine clay deposits, ii) the performance of a full- scale trial embankment on soil improved with prefabricated vertical drains, and iii) outcomes of an international symposium on predicting the behaviour of embankments on soft soils. The second part discusses the use of the Finite Element Limit Analysis method to estimate efficiently and accurately the collapse load of geostructures, and the application of this method to determine the required internal tunnel support pressure to prevent collapse. The paper concludes with the presentation of novel numerical and experimental methods to model rockfalls and to assess the performance of protective systems in the laboratory and in situ.