The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link is an 80 km rail network between Pretoria, Johannesburg and the OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa. The stability of the rail constructed over dolomitic ground was classified as a major project risk and obtaining geotechnical parameters for design presented a unique challenge as development in this area has been kept to a minimum. The ground investigation employed numerous investigation techniques in an attempt to obtain consistency between different methods and hence obtain a representative data set in very heterogeneous ground conditions. To further understand the performance of the ground full scale surcharge loading tests and pile load tests were carried out. As a result of the extensive investigations, a suite of foundation solutions was designed and validated. These solutions comprised piles to rock, large diameter shafts to rock, floating foundations over grout treated ground and spread footings founded on rock close to the surface.

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