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What is a piled embankment?

A piled embankment consists of a field on piles, with on top of that an embankment. The bottom section of the embankment is composed of a granular material and reinforced with one or more geosynthetic layers. The embankment can be raised with sand or granular material. The piled embankment is finished with a road or a railroad construction.

Within the granular layer, a kind of arche occurs.. The load is transferred through these arches. This phenomenon is called arching.

Why are piled embankments applied?

Construction of roads or railroads with a piled embankment is far faster than many other techniques. A piled embankment is also a good solution:

  • when only limited, or even zero settlements are allowed;
  • when sensitive constructions lie nearby, such as pipes, tubes or an existing road;
  • when constructing or broadening a (rail)road on weak soil. Especially if the life cycle costs (thus also the costs of the maintenance of the road) are considered during the decision process.

Construction of the N210 in the Krimpenerwaard: sensitive existing road, very soft soil; Ballast Nedam Infra and Huesker Geosynthetics

Example projects

Please find a list of Dutch piled embankments here ..


The Dutch version: Paalmatrassystemen.


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