Best management practices also cut impact of energy infrastructure projects

By Chace Elliott

Anyone who has worked on or planned a complex construction project will tell you it can be very difficult to meet the demands of all affected and invested parties.

This rings all the more true with projects spanning multiple seasons with vastly varying weather conditions. Access roads, staging areas, landing zones and entire worksites found suitable one week can quickly turn into inaccessible bogs with inclement weather.

With increasing focus on reducing the impact of energy infrastructure projects, it is vital to plan proactively and employ best management practices. This need is especially crucial for projects during the breakup period. Galloway Construction Group Ltd. has wealth of experience working through the obstacles breakup presents. And in 2013 we saw a solution we knew could revolutionize the way worksites function between winter and spring.

While working on a massive 500-km electrical power-line expansion, we utilized the DURA-BASE Advanced Composite Mat System. While we initially saw value in the system to address issues with logistical costs, bio-contamination, noxious weeds and debris from traditional wood mats, we quickly experienced that there were additional features of the system that would offer great advantage for utilization during breakup.

DURA-BASE interlocks on all ends to prevent differential movement, which stops the mats from being buried as loads cross the surface. This interlocking design is highly effective for load dispersal, enabling support of extremely heavy loads over marginal sub-bases while preventing rutting.

A single-piece sealed non-absorbent construction is paramount to the strength of the system, but more importantly assures the system will not take on weight with wet weather conditions. A molded pattern on the surface provides additional traction for increased site safety.

Galloway created a separate matting division because we could see how this solution would be of great benefit to limit surface disturbance and offer year-round site access. Our highly skilled crews can effectively install the system utilizing a variety of equipment options depending on the demands of the project and have experience to cover large areas with high efficiency. Galloway also developed an automated washing system to effectively wash DURA-BASE and ensure it arrives to a project Level 3 clean.

With preemptive deployment of the DURA-BASE System during frozen winter months, a project will undoubtedly benefit come spring when soils expand and take on additional moisture.

The system effectively limits surface disturbance and compaction to protect landowner interests. The system also prevents costly delays and improves economics for operators to improve investor interests. The system even offers benefit to the general public by reducing the numbers of truckloads required for construction – reducing carbon emissions and impact on roads.

Chace Elliott has more than nine years’ experience in the oil and gas and heavy construction industries, spending all of that with Galloway Construction Group Ltd. and founding his own company, Recharged Industries Inc. He holds a master’s degree from Dalhousie University in Resource and Environmental Management. His international experience includes partnerships and expansion opportunities between Canada and the U.S., and his current research involves studying the correlation between the spread of noxious weeds and the construction of linear projects.


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