International award for study of piled embankment

Published: 25 September 2014

Suzanne van Eekelen, Adam Bezuijen and Frits van Tol, three Deltares researchers, have won the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) award for their research programme looking at piled embankments. The IGS Award is the most prestigious award granted by the IGS and it is handed out once every four years to people or groups who have made an outstanding contribution to the development and use of geosynthetics.
The award winners Adam Bezuijen (left) and Suzanne van Eekelen (in the middle)

The award winners Adam Bezuijen (left) and Suzanne van Eekelen (in the middle)

Realistic results with new design model

The research at Deltares optimises the design rules for geosynthetic reinforcement in piled embankments. A piled embankment consists of a foundation of piles supporting a reinforced embankment. Suzanne will complete her PhD on this subject next year. Her PhD research has produced a new design model that predicts the behaviour of piled embankments with geosynthetic reinforcement better than the current models. Designers can use the model to produce economic and safe designs for piled embankments. Management agencies will be able to plan maintenance budgets  better and manage road quality better.

The new design model will be included in the new CUR design guideline for piled embankments, which will be published in 2015. There is also considerable global interest in the model from countries including America, Asia, Brazil and China.


The load distribution on the basal reinforcement was measured and explained, resulting in a new analytical model

Suitable for soft ground in urban areas

Piled embankments are an excellent system for supporting roads and railways on soft ground in urban areas, for example where pre-loading is not feasible  because of time restrictions or because there are pipes, buildings or roads in the immediate vicinity. Lateral deformations are minimal when a piled embankment is used. The system does not require any maintenance and construction is quick. And once construction has been completed, there is virtually no residual settlement, if any.