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The design and construction of a large reinforced soil embankment for the East Taupo Arterial Project

April 17, 2012

Technical paper submitted for ANZ2012 geomechanics conference in Melbourne.


A 20m high reinforced soil embankment supports the East Taupo Arterial as it crosses TH2 gully.  The gully is 20m deep and 40m wide with near vertical walls in ignimbrite soils. A small stream runs along the base of the gully, which is thought to have been formed by fluvial erosion in recent times. The design comprised a mechanically stabilised earth embankment with steep sloping faces which facilitate vegetation. The reinforced soil section is 17m high and lies above twin 2.1m diameter culvert pipes which convey stream flood flows. This paper describes the design and construction of the reinforced soil embankment. Limit equilibrium and finite element analysis methods were used to evaluate the strength and deformations of the embankment, including during strong earthquakes. The fill material comprised ignimbrite pumice rich soils. These sandy gravels have unusual properties including being very lightweight but having very high strength. Some of the challenges during construction are described including access to the gully floor, benching and detailing of the facing units.


From → An Engineer

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