Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Segment support


The Gerrards Cross tunnellisation was being carried out using a precast concrete arch system developed in France during the early 1990s.

The 20m span tunnel is composed of 2m wide, half span segments, designed and supplied by Reinforced Earth Company, a subsidiary of French contractor Freyssinet. Segments were manufactured by Irish producer Macrete.

Segments are staggered, with each half span element bearing on to the two segments opposite. Formwork was required to support the first fi ve elements, after which the system was self-stable.

An average of four segments were craned into position during each night time possession.

Segments spring from insitu concrete piled foundations. The capping beam is detailed with a 100mm deep trough into which the segments were seated.

These footings were grouted up once the erection sequence was complete.

At the crown, a simple stainless steel clad male female 'hip' joint provides for up to 200mm of rotational movement as the arch deflects vertically.

Movement arises as fill first squeezes the sides of the arch and then, as load is applied to the top of the arch, it returns to its original geometry.

Two longitudinal, cast insitu beams, one either side of the crown joint, transfer stresses between units and provide resistance against longitudinal loading, but no resistance against lateral loading.

Reinforced Earth Company was responsible for defining the geometry, thickness and reinforcement of the segments.

It also offered guidance on the backfill operation.

But design of the foundations and of the backfill sequence at Gerrards Cross fell to White Young Green, said Reinforced Earth Company director general Patrick Nagle.

Fill consisted primarily of grade 6N quarry scalpings from the Mendip Hills. This material was specified for the sides and the 1.5m covering the tunnel.

The top layer of fill is graded incinerator bottom ash.

Fill was to be placed and compacted in maximum layers of 500mm deep.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.