InTrans / Aug 14, 2018

Potential for Expanding Small-Diameter Timber Market: Assessing Use of Wood Posts in Highway Applications

Because of a combination of circumstances, there is an overabundance of small-diameter timber available in the United States. There is low demand for this material because it has low value. One way to increase the value, and therefore the demand, for this material is to develop or expand markets where the material can be used. We looked at markets where little or no machining would be required before use because this would make it more feasible to use small-diameter material. One such market is that of wood posts in highway applications. In this study, we gathered information on the current use of posts, both wood and those made from other materials, used in highway applications. Information was gathered using a survey of Department of Transportation engineers from across the United States. We then analyzed the information to assess the possibility of increasing the use of small-diameter timber in the highway application market. We found many opportunities for ways this market could be expanded, but we also found challenges to increasing this market.

Keywords: small-diameter timber, small-diameter trees, small trees, wood post, guardrails