InTrans / Aug 14, 2018

Portable surfaces for crossing unstable roadbeds

Low-volume roadbeds surfaced with aggregate and
native soil are a vital part of many U.S. Department
of Agriculture Forest Service road networks. A
common concern of low-volume road designers is the
development of ruts through short, unstable sections.
Ruts reduce vehicle access, affect local streams and
hydrology, increase maintenance, and accelerate the
loss of surfacing material as a result of erosion. The
Forest Service has investigated portable surfaces as an
alternative to continuous maintenance, use of crushed
aggregate, or reconstruction. This report discusses field
evaluation to quantify the reduction of rut depth for two
types of wood portable surfaces. Wood pallets and
wood mats were installed on native soil timber harvest
roads in northcentral Florida. On average, the surfaces
reduced rut depth by 127 mm (5 in.).