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Arcadis is using new, earth-retaining foundation engineering techniques in the Oosterweel project in the Linkeroever area. This project involves replacing reinforced concrete with reinforced earth. "As we’re using reinforcing structures in the earth itself rather than pouring concrete, this application is not only more sustainable, but also delivers significant cost savings," explains Leen Versmissen, an engineer at Arcadis.

Reinforcing the earth-retaining foundations is necessary in order to withstand the horizontal forces resulting from friction. The most commonly used method is to pour concrete over a metal frame. Arcadis is always on the lookout for new methods that combine sustainability with affordability. Reinforced earth, which involves installing reinforcing structures into the soil itself, is a sustainable and effective alternative.

The reinforced earth technique has already been used for smaller civil engineering works, but never on this scale. This required additional analysis and calculations. Working jointly with Rinkoniên, we have managed to develop this technique further so that it can also be used in large-scale projects such as Oosterweel.

Arcadis is using this technology in 15 places on the Oosterweel Link Linkeroever project, including 10 bridges with foundations created either fully or partially using reinforced earth. The greatest benefit of this is material efficiency, given that a large part of the structure is made up of earth. This is reinforced using a plastic geogrid (mesh) that prevents movement and is clad using gabions. The reinforced earth is also used under (raised) roads.

The Oosterweel project demonstrates how reinforced earth can be used as a foundation for bridges; an example that other projects can copy. By taking this approach, Arcadis is boosting confidence in these new solution methods.

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