The high-speed train railway connecting Kenitra to Tanger in northern Morocco has a length of 200km. It forms the first link in a significant rail line improvement project under construction to provide the country by 2030 with 1,500km of high-speed railway lines.

Before work could start on the project, an intervention was required to address the soft foundation challenges and differential settlement issues presented by the project morphology. A means of basal reinforcement was required and Maccaferri France was selected to provide a solution for piled embankments.

An 11m-high and 62m-wide embankment was introduced between PR305-075 and PR305-600. The intervention was introduced over piles to support the full weight of the embankment. It was designed over two layers of clay, 11m thick, according to French ASIRI research.

At the interface between the embankment and the piles, a 50cm polyester ParaLink geogrid was introduced in conjunction with the piles, immediately in contact with the pile caps. The grids, with a design life in excess of 120 years, work in conjunction with the soils to absorb the forces transmitted from the embankment above, transferring them vertically into the supporting piles.

The design of the piles (dimension, type of reinforcement and spacing) varied according to the embankment heights and the pile positions: central or side part of the structure. Analysis was carried out to determine the optimised pile diameter versus geogrid-stiffness.

The railway line is scheduled to enter service in 2018.

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