French contractor Menard Soltraitement is carrying out massive ground improvement works as part of an extension to Airbus' manufacturing plant in Hamburg, northern Germany.
The Ecu305M (£186M) contract involves treating a 1. 6Mm 2area of poor saturated river alluvium with peat dredged from the River Elbe.
The extension is to accommodate the new Airbus A380 aircraft project.
Menard Soltraitement, part of the Freyssinet Group, is working with earthworks and riverworks contractor Moebius and is responsible for technical supervision of soil treatment.
A 200,000m 2area was treated using the Menard Vacuum consolidation technique. The system, for preloading and consolidating soft and very soft saturated impervious soil, involves installing vertical and horizontal vacuum pipes under an airtight impervious membrane and sucking out the air below it.
This induces air pressure on the soil and speeds up consolidation. Some 20M linear metres of drain were installed for the Airbus scheme.
After treatment the soil will support up to 8m of earthworks, hangars for construction of the new aircraft and associated infrastructure.
Menard Soltraitement will supply an ultimate compaction warranty for the work.