Each off-road project presents unique challenges and requires a specialized toolkit to get the job done. Worksites that are proximate to major highways or thoroughfares don’t usually require infrastructure in the form of access solutions.

However, when servicing electrical towers or oil and gas pipelines located in remote areas, access roads become a necessity. Access roads offer ease and efficiency for projects of all sizes. They improve conditions for workers while mitigating the impact on the environment, and they reduce the level of wear and tear on vehicles and other machinery.

Common Hidden Costs

Before making purchasing decisions, it is important to remember the costs associated with buying or renting the access road mats themselves. Surveying, clearing, and forming roadways are all part of the process. You’ll want to take stock of these costs before kicking off your next project. Below, we take a closer look at the hidden costs, so you can be better prepared to meet the demands of your next access road installation. 

Surveying the Land

Not all land lends itself to easy access. Before you can deploy a temporary roadway, you first need to assess the land you’ll be building on. When it comes to constructing electrical towers and oil and gas pipelines, you’ll likely encounter uneven terrain. Surveying the land helps you understand the topography of an area and determine the outer boundaries of a parcel of land. Surveying also helps you determine the vehicles and equipment you’ll need, including access mats. In the case of hazardous terrain, waterways, or other unavoidable obstructions, bridge mats can close the gaps. 

Clearing Drainage Facilities

Clearing and maintaining drainage cavities is crucial to the success of any access road installation. Without the proper drainage system, heavy rain creates muddy terrain, which can become dangerous for workers and damage equipment. Ditches must be cleared and drainage systems uncovered or dug out to prevent the possibility of flooding.  

Swampy conditions prove especially difficult for heavy equipment. Luckily, there are mats made specifically for wetland ecosystems. Swamp mats protect equipment and prevent muddy buildup that can easily get lodged between wheels or tracks. At the same time, swamp mats make it easier for both workers and vehicles to maneuver throughout the worksite. 

Forming the Road

All roadways must have a solid foundation. Surveying the land will reveal which parcels of land are most uneven or susceptible to deterioration. But before access roads can be constructed—and mats, gravel, dirt, and so forth put in place—the land itself must be made level and excess debris cleared. This involves clearing scattered timber, removing rocks, and forming a pathway. 

Whether you’re constructing electrical towers or highway infrastructure, you’ll need to begin with the basics: pipeline right-of-way clearing, civil construction, and renewable energy initiatives

Grading and Compacting

To form the roadway, the land must also be graded and compacted. The process includes using excavation and compaction materials to create uniform horizontal layers of land based on material, moisture, and density. Each layer’s thickness must also be uniform. Pneumatic rolling equipment and tamped rolling equipment are best suited for grading and compacting projects.

Protecting the Environment

As workers build temporary roads to approach a worksite, it is important to take precautionary measures to preserve the land underneath. Heavy machinery and vehicles can destroy the land and cause permanent damage to machinery. Without mats in place, contractors risk noncompliance according to the National Resources Conservation Service’s conservation practice standards

Ground protection mats for transmission and distribution projects protect the land by creating a temporary, robust barrier between large construction vehicles and the terrain. Durable timber mats make it easy to traverse even the toughest terrain all year long. So whether you’re building temporary roads over marshes or swamps, constructing bridges over waterways, reducing ground pressure and mitigating weight distribution, or establishing rights-of-way, access mats provide you with the efficiency you need without compromising environmental integrity. 

Access roads are not one-size-fits-all solutions. We’re here to help you find the right materials for you and your project. Subscribe to our blog to learn more about road access and matting solutions today. 

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