Ground protection mats provide many benefits to project managers and owners—safety and efficiency, to name just two. But they also benefit another important stakeholder: the environment.
Why Is Ground Protection Important?
Reducing the environmental impact of a construction, pipeline, or utility project is mandatory in many cases, but that’s not the only reason to prioritize sustainable practices.
Protect the Land
National and regional environmental regulations mandate that certain measures be taken to protect waterways. In some cases, additional regulations might be in place to protect endangered plant or animal life. Ground protection mats are a critical piece of the puzzle when developing a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) and implementing other compliance strategies.
Soil compaction contributes to stormwater runoff that pollutes waterways and affects wildlife habitats. Using ground protection mats distributes the weight of heavy equipment to prevent this compaction without causing long-term damage to the plants below. Ground protection mats also help prevent the spread of invasive species, which is an important factor for the protection of native wildlife.
Protect Your Crew
Ground protection mats provide consistent and level temporary access roads and work surfaces to create a safe environment for the people working at the site. Without mats, the ground can become muddy or slippery, creating potential hazards for workers. Access mats also make it easier for crews to comply with environmental regulations because they enable the safe and low-impact transport of people, heavy equipment, and materials.
Protect Your Reputation
In addition to complying with regulations, reducing environmental impact at project sites can also help protect your reputation. When accessing sites through right of ways, it’s important (and often a contractual obligation) to return the ground to its original condition. Without mats, you may have to restore soil, replant crops or grasses, or make other landscape repairs. Using ground protection mats allows you to keep sites clean and tidy, with minimal environmental restoration at the end of a project. This attention to the environment reflects well on your brand and keeps clients and landowners happy.
Different Mats for Different Terrain
Depending on the characteristics of the site and the nature of the project, there are a range of access mat types that can be used to reduce the environmental impact.
Heavy-Duty Ground Protection Mats
Made from hardwoods or composites, heavy-duty access mats can be used for temporary roadways, parking pads, staging areas, and storage areas. Even when the terrain is flat and firm, transporting heavy equipment and materials causes soil compaction and damages root systems. Using heavy-duty mats reduces this impact and creates safe access for crews.
Lightweight Ground Protection Mats
Areas with frequent foot or light-duty vehicle traffic benefit from lightweight mats that distribute weight, provide traction, and are easy to move around the site as needed. Whether they’re made from a composite or cross-laminated timber, having these types of mats on-hand makes it easier to reduce your environmental impact.
When accessing the site requires crossing sensitive streams or waterways, bridge mats provide a safe, non-slip surface for heavy equipment to cross without damaging the surrounding environment.
Track-out mats are used at the entrances and exits of project sites to remove dirt and other debris from tires, tracks, and equipment. This helps reduce the environmental impact of a project by reducing the risk of transferring invasive species. Additional measures can also be implemented as needed to ensure that no plant matter or dirt are transferred to or from the site.
Tap into YAK ACCESS Environmental Expertise
When it comes to site access, our team has seen it all. From creating a floating road across a sensitive waterway in Maine to leaving endangered species undisturbed near a powerline project, we have the proven expertise and experience to implement innovative and effective site access solutions.
At YAK ACCESS, we not only help our clients reduce their environmental impact, but we’re also committed to sustainability in our own operations. Thanks to waste-reducing production methods, sustainable purchasing practices, and internal policies that prioritize the environment, using our ground protection mats reduces environmental impact in multiple ways.
We’re passionate about finding the right ground protection solutions for every client. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your next project.