Completion of Milestone Ground Improvement Works for Woolgoolga to Ballina – Pacific Highway Upgrade

Pacific Highway Rig 9 Ground Improvement Woolgoolga to Ballina

SYDNEY, Australia – 1 June 2018 – Leading design and construction geotechnical specialist Menard Oceania has announced completion of the largest Controlled Modulus Column (CMC) rigid inclusion application seen to date on the Pacific Highway upgrade. Menard’s ground improvement work focused on the $4.36 billion Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway covering the ‘Pimlico to Teven’, ‘Harwood Bridge’, and ‘Bridge B04 & Bridge B08’ stages.

Working on behalf of Roads and Maritime Services NSW (RMS) and main contractors Georgiou (Pimlico/Teven), Acciona Ferrovial JV (Harwood), and AFS Bachy Soletanche (B04 & B08), Menard was engaged to deliver ground improvement works in the form of construct only CMC packages. The project remit was to control differential settlement between the pre-loaded area in the away zone (residual 200mm settlement) and the rigid abutment (50mm residual settlement) for each project. The nature of the ‘Harwood’ project meant that embankment loading was also needed for the control of lateral forces and additional reinforced CMCs were needed.

Menard’s approach to the project has been to apply its advanced and innovative ground improvement technique, Controlled Modulus Columns (CMC). The ‘Pimlico to Teven’ section of the project comprised 34,500lm of CMCs, at a maximum depth of 24 metres. The ‘Harwood Bridge’ section comprised 22,000lm of CMCs, at a NSW record of up to 33.4m in depth. These CMCs were also successfully reinforced to full depth in areas to address embankment loading issues. The final stage ‘Bridge B04 & Bridge B08’ comprised 4,400lm of CMCs, at a maximum depth of 12.5m.

Josh Ryan, Area Manager, Pacifico (Acciona, Ferrovial Joint Venture) has commented that, “Menard has been a trusted partner throughout the duration of this stage of the Pacific Highway upgrade and we’ve valued their expertise on the Harwood Bridge ground improvement works. They have a deep knowledge of working on large scale infrastructure projects and helped deliver a smart solution that was cost effective, sustainable and ensured we could plan and build with confidence. Their site team lead by David and Patrice successfully completed the works on time and in a professional and reliable manner.”

The CMC process used by Menard involves reinforcing the soil, effectively increasing the global ground modulus through installation of rigid inclusions. CMCs are formed by rotary drilling techniques using an auger designed to displace the soil laterally during penetration. The technique is suited to high surface loading conditions and strict settlement criteria in applications like bridge approach embankments over compressible clays, fills, sands or organic soils.

“CMC rigid inclusions are ideal when dealing with sites with soft compressible clays and silts, like the Pimlico to Teven and Harwood Bridge,” said Philippe Vincent, Managing Director, Menard Oceania. “The completion of this project is a significant milestone for us, the largest CMC application installed on the Pacific Highway so far and another example of Menard’s focus to deliver smart solutions for our clients that are completed on time and on budget.”

This latest RMS ground improvement project was completed in March 2018 and takes Menard’s total RMS CMC related projects to more than 12, totalling 240,000lm of CMCs.


Menard Oceania maintains an exceptional 45-year history in Australia offering design and construction geotechnical experience. Providing cost effective ground improvement solutions for some of Australia’s mid-to-large infrastructure and construction projects. Its recent completion of the Pacific Highway upgrade, Optus Stadium (Perth) and Melbourne’s Webb Dock Project are Menard’s largest CMC projects in Australia.

Menard Oceania is a part of Soletanche Freyssinet, a group of world leaders in soil, structural and nuclear engineering. This relationship further strengthens Menard’s ability to manage complex integrated problems and continue as the leader and pioneer of specialist geotechnical contracting.

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