Construction is challenging enough without dealing with difficult terrain. Crews often have to tame the landscape before they can begin the hard work of building. In certain situations, they also need to leave a minimal impact on the land. In swampy terrain, builders must contend with wet ground that won’t support heavy equipment while also doing their best to protect these ecologically sensitive areas. Fortunately, hardwood wetland mats can offer a solution, provided you know how to utilize them.
How Timber Mats Work
Swamp mats made of durable hardwood timbers or lightweight composite materials allow contractors to create temporary roadways over excessively muddy areas. The slats of the mats easily lock together to provide support for cranes, loaders, trucks, forklifts and other large machinery, enabling them to traverse sites that ordinarily wouldn’t be accessible. Without them, the equipment could become stuck or sink into the marsh.
Protecting the Environment
One of the most perplexing elements of working in protected wetland areas is the ecological considerations project managers face. Heavy equipment exerts a lot of pressure on the ground, even where the soil is stable enough to move freely. Wheels and treads can tear up the land and cause damage to sensitive root systems under the surface. Driving through wetlands can cause harm to the ecosystem that may take decades to heal naturally. Mats protect the land because they prevent the full weight of vehicles from being applied to it.
How to Deploy Wetland Mats
Before deploying a temporary roadway, it’s essential to do some necessary prep work. Crews will need to:
- Choose the most stable ground – Look for a clear path that forms as straight a line as possible. Tree stumps and boulders could cause slats to warp and bend, so remove any large ones before laying down the mat. It is recommended that the grade not exceed 4 percent, and the area should be free from cross-slope to ensure the best results.
- Use geotextile materials – Placing geotextiles under the mats provides a number of benefits. They will help improve drainage around the roadway, as well as providing better traction.
- Choose your mat – Timber products provide the most stability and capacity. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) mats are lighter, making them easier to install and remove. The mat you select for your project will depend on your requirements.
- Install – Once they are laid on the ground, the mats can be connected easily using finger joints or cabled loops at the end of each panel.
With these solutions in place, transporting construction vehicles through wetlands and swamps becomes easier and more environmentally sound.