Construction sites rely on access routes to deliver materials, equipment, and workers. Access roads provide contractors with efficient project management allowing unrestricted movement around all areas of the site. Access road design requires proper construction to ensure the capacity and durability to withstand heavy vehicle traffic on the project site. If the road design isn’t up to par, it won’t last long. Weather issues like rainstorms can wash out temporary access roads, resulting in the need for grading and repairs and delaying project progress.
How to Build a Construction Site Access Road
Access routes, whether haul roads miles long or at the site’s entrance, are essential for navigating over weak, unstable, variable ground and even bogs.
Reinforcing the Access Road
Selecting the correct reinforcing materials to construct a temporary site access road ensures it has enough strength to displace material loads. Proper design and reinforcement of the access road lead to a smooth construction process on the project and delivery before the deadline.
Incorrect design and construction of access roads risks creating inaccessible areas due to ground slippage and expensive road remediation and repairs. In some cases, a poorly designed access road might cause the overturning of vehicles or equipment, injuring workers, and damaging assets.
Access road reinforcement is critical to prevent road degradation during the project. There are several reinforcing materials planners use when designing the access road. Geogrids provide the best stability for heavy vehicles, displacing the weight evenly across the road surface.
Geocells are ideal for improving drainage on the road and creating a strong, fixed layer of lateral and vertical support. When access roads require design for large loads, the planner uses woven geotextiles to improve load-bearing capacity and enhance strength on soft or loose ground.
Using non-woven geotextiles is the best choice for drainage since it’s a porous material. After selecting the reinforcements, the road designer must continually test and maintain the route. Ensuring sufficient testing is important in planning and building effective and efficient access roads on site.
Assess the Data Before Planning the Project
Project planners must consider several factors when designing an access road on a construction site. For example, existing ground stability and strength, vehicle weight and movements, speed of activities and operations, and weather conditions.
Excellent road design assesses more than road strength and reliability. It informs the project manager on road widths, turning spaces, junction angles, stopping and sight distances, skid resistance, and ramps, declines, or inclines along the route.
California Bearing Ratio (CBR)
Road planners use the “California Bearing Ratio” (CBR) test to determine the load-bearing capacity of the ground. This test replicates wheel weights and loads to measure soil penetration. CBRs determine material thicknesses required for building effective access routes.
The planners may also use borehole tests to determine if there are any underground gas or water deposits in the area and their depth. The geotechnical report informs the planner on the ground conditions like soil strength, groundwater movement, and depth of cover stone needed for the road.
Choosing a Cover for the Road
If the planner intends to use stone cover for the road, the planner must identify any borrow pits on-site to source the stone. Or they can choose to rely on sustainable, cost-effective, off-site sources.
Depending on the type of cover the planner uses in the project, the access road design should include a dust-control strategy to mitigate air pollution in the area.
Access Road Design Considerations
Like conventional road projects, access roads require a design with slope inclines or banked curves to provide adequate drainage on the route. The civil engineers and projects work with the road planner, providing information on the types of vehicles using the road, their weight, and the daily movements around the site.
It’s advisable for road planners to design the route width, junctions, curves, angles, and load-bearing capacity based on the weights of the least agile and heaviest trucks or equipment. It’s critical for planners to collect this information, even if it adds to project costs.
By understanding the road requirements, planners can order geotextiles to reduce the time required to build the access road by up to 75 percent, saving huge amounts of money on construction times and time to breaking ground on the project.
After completing the planning stage, earthmoving teams must strip the topsoil on the route and store it for landscaping use after the construction phase.
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