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An enormous earth pyramid in the Netherlands - as big as the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt - is being supported and protected by a range of materials supplied by Colbond Geosynthetics.

Big Spotter's Hill is the focal point of the Floriade 2002, the international horticultural exhibition held every 10 years.

This year's show is being held in the Haarlemmermeer district, close to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport and is expected to attract 3M visitors.

Combiflora Consortium, made up of Arcadis and Dura Vermeer, began construction of the exhibition site in 1996. Designed by Aracadis, the pyramid is made up of local material reinforced with Enkagrid Pro 40 geogrid supplied by Colbond Geosynthetics.

In November 2001, it became evident that rain was eroding the steps on the steep side slopes, causing instability in the upper soil layer.

Colbond was called in again and designed a solution involving a combination of Enkadrain drainage mat, Enkamat reinforcement and Armater erosion protection to rebuild the upper layer and protect it from further damage. Heavy rain since installation has shown that the system works, with water discharging continuously from drainage pipes at the foot of the pyramid.

Colbond has also supplied 40,000m 2of its Enkamat A20 matting to prevent erosion of the banks of a canal built next to the new N201 road to the Floriade site. Wave action and water flow was eroding both banks, preventing vegetation growth and putting the road at risk.

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