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Back-to-back Mechanically Stabilized Earth Wall over a Load Transfer Platform supporting a railway structure: design consideration and installation procedure

The Reading Viaduct represents one of the longest concrete viaducts in the UK and it carried its first train on January 4th 2015. The £45 million structure is 2 km long and was designed to ease the bottleneck which had troubled the railway system in the area for years. This viaduct relieves the passenger train services, no more waiting for slower freight trains to pass. The installation of the viaduct required long approach ramps to be constructed to raise the line approximately 6 m at both ends. The working area was within 15 m from the existing operational rail line, therefore conventional earthworks were not feasible. A Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) solution with discrete concrete panels and polymeric reinforcing strips was chosen to support the ramps. The project comprises one side MSE structures and tied back-to-back walls of 10 m width adjacent to the viaduct. To provide a suitable foundation for the train loaded ramp/MSE structures, ground improvement was necessary, due to the variable nature of the existing soils. A high strength geogrid reinforced Load Transfer Platform (LTP) was designed to absorb, spread and dissipate applied loads vertically downwards into the piled ground. The aim of this paper is to present the solutions chosen for this project, detailing the design of the complex backto- back MSE walls and Load Transfer Platform.