Pressuremeter Investigation for Mass Rapid Transit in Bangkok, Thailand

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

organisation - structures, mode - rail


Underground structures, Underground facilities, Subsurface structures, Soil strength, Soil stiffness, Soil pressure, Slurry walls, Site investigation, Rapid transit, Pressuremeters, Pressure gages, Heavy rail transit, Earth pressure, Design build construction, Bangkok (Thailand)


The 20-km (12.5-mi) mass rapid transit underground railway system in central Bangkok, Thailand, recently opened for passengers. During construction, the project was divided into two separate civil design–build contracts: the northern section, comprising approximately 10 km (6.2 mi) of twin bored tunnels, and nine stations constructed within slurry walls by adopting top-down techniques. A crucial part of the design of the underground structures was the selection of appropriate design parameters for the slurry walls. The contractor was responsible for ground-related issues and carried out a detailed site investigation to confirm the ground conditions and define soil parameters for the design of the underground structures. The site investigation comprised 40 conventional wash-bored borings and six self-boring pressuremeter tests. This paper describes the site investigation that was carried out for the project and the ground conditions that were encountered, with particular focus on the use of the self-boring pressuremeter to estimate the soil strength, stiffness, and in situ pressure for use in design of the slurry walls. The paper discusses the various methods used to interpret the data and compares the parameters derived from the pressuremeter to those derived from other methods and from back-analysis of the behavior of the wall during construction. It is concluded that in the conditions in Bangkok, the pressuremeter testing provided higher strength and stiffness values than determined from other methods and that these parameters were subsequently borne out by the behavior of the underground structures.