Oman’s Enormous Geogrid Basal Reinforcement Project

Maccaferri has an active global network and a very long history of success in geosynthetic and affiliated geotechnical engineering projects, but it continues to find new benchmarks. In Oman, the company’s ParaLink® high-strength geogrids are being used for basal reinforcement in the massive Duqm roads embankment designs. The use of geosynthetic reinforcement here has been found to be significantly more economical and faster for construction in comparison to other feasible, conventional solutions available in the Oman market (e.g., stone columns, vacuum consolidation, dynamic replacement).

Oman’s Enormous Geogrid Basal Reinforcement Project
The soft sabkha soils (salt flats) have required substantial basal reinforcement. The Duqm road project will support port access. Photo by Maccaferri.

Around 1.2 million m² of ParaLink® geogrids will be installed by the end of the works, making it the biggest basal reinforcement project ever for Maccaferri.


Sabkha soil is a type of soft soil with high salt content. It is widely present in the Arabian Peninsula and is characterized by low bearing capacity and low SPT values. Its presence drastically influences the construction of foundations for civil engineering structures in the area.
Duqm is a port town on the Arabian Sea. It is situated 600 km southwest of Muscat, the capital city of the Sultanate of Oman. Extensive developmental projects including sea port, airport, dry dock, oil refinery, crude oil storage terminals, factories, buildings, residential villas, and the necessary road and railway infrastructures are actively under construction or in the planning phase. The Duqm road works noted here are being conducted in support of Duqm port access.
The road starts from an existing intersection with National Road No.32 (Duqm-Mahoot Road) and goes towards Duqm Port and the proposed liquid berths at the seaside. The extensive presence of sabkha soil in the road embankment construction zone required a basal reinforcement solution.

Oman’s Enormous Geogrid Basal Reinforcement Project
Typical cross section of the road embankment stabilized with a high-strength geogrid and wraparound details in the Duqm roads project. Read a technical paper on the construction (PDF).

The ultra-strong ParaLink® reinforcement geogrids were specified for the works as a technically excellent basal reinforcement solution for embankments over the unique soft soils in the project zone.
A wide range of ground improvement methods were explored by the designer by consulting the specialized subcontractors in each field. Generally, for sabkha soil having an SPT value less than 5 in muddy conditions, the most widely used conventional solution for road projects in the Middle East region is the provision of stone columns below the road embankment for the total depth of soft soil. When comparing the different methods by their cost per unit area of road embankment base, the high-strength geogrid solution was found to be significantly more economical—almost 8 times less expensive than stone columns—and faster in construction than other methods commonly used in Oman.
A technical paper on the Duqm road project is available here (PDF).
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