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Porous Pavements Myth Busters: Cost

Written By: William G Handlos, P.E.

Does a porous pavement solution cost more?

Porous pavements actually are less expensive to install than impervious concrete or asphalt when total project costs are considered. When evaluating parking lot construction costs for porous vs. impervious alternatives, the following cost “buckets” must be considered.


Traditional pavements such as bituminous asphalt or Portland cement concrete enjoy low cost and ubiquitous installation contractors. This may lead one to think that choosing a porous pavement would lead to higher overall project costs… But that is a myth.

 

Most everything else about traditional parking lot construction is far more expensive than the porous pavement alternative. Traditional hard-surface pavements require inlet structures, castings and covers for inlets and manholes, underground pipe, outfall structures, and detention ponds.

Costs & Maintenance of Stormwater Ponds

Detention ponds have three major cost drivers. Land costs to locate a pond can vary wildly depending upon commercial real estate values, but it is not unusual for land to be upwards of $250,000/acre even in small markets. But the impact of the land utilized for detention ponds doesn’t end there. There is the lost opportunity cost for the unrealized rental or income value lost when a commercial building cannot be located where a pond is required. This represents a continual annual and growing cost. Finally, there is the detention pond construction cost and higher liability costs.

An additional consideration is safety and aesthetics. The word pond emotes a pleasant image of fish jumping and ducks paddling. But there are two types of ponds for stormwater purposes and neither is all that attractive from a safety and aesthetic standpoint.

A retention pond retains water with most of the water expected to percolate into the soil below. Retention ponds are an attractive nuisance to children and can be dangerous in wet conditions as the slopes make it very difficult in rain and snow to escape once a child slides down the pitch. It is difficult to mow close to the edge and as a result tall grass and weeds end up collecting blowing trash. Fences placed for safety create garbage traps too—and the cyclone fence does not make for a very positive aesthetic.

A detention pond primarily slows water down from leaving the site and has similar challenges. Either type of pond is as likely to host floating garbage as floating wildlife and sedimentation quickly builds on the bottom of the pond reducing capacity and choking off infiltration.

Plenty of research and analysis has been done with porous pavements to prove the overall reduction in expense, as well as the danger reduction and improved aesthetics. With porous pavements, stormwater detention is built right into the open-graded base course to a depth required for the site—so runoff is captured at the source. The University of New Hampshire stormwater center has put together a case study showing the economic advantage of porous pavements. The concepts in this case study are valid for a wide range of porous pavements including modular pavers such as GEOPAVE aggregate pavers and GEOBLOCK grass pavers.

So when you are comparing porous pavements to traditional pavements, make sure you are considering all of the costs and safety implications that come with traditional pavement.

Choosing a green solution doesn’t have to cost more.

For more information on porous pavements, visit our web page: Porous Pavements.

    

 

Porous Pavements Myth Busters: Snow Removal

Written By: Samantha Justice, P.E.

What You Need to Know About Removing Snow from Porous Pavements

Vehicle and pedestrian use on porous pavements don’t stop because it’s winter. Roads need to be plowed, parking lots need to be cleared, and walking paths need to be snow and ice-free for safe use. This is true for all surface types: concrete, asphalt, and porous pavements—however, it is a common misconception that snow removal is more challenging with porous pavement systems.


Myth Busted: Snow removal on a Porous Pavement System (PPS) is easy!
Get the answers below to the frequently asked questions about removing snow from plastic, modular type porous pavers.

 

Can I Apply Salt to Porous Pavements?

Applying salt or ice melt chemicals to gravel-filled PPS surfaces encourages snow and ice to melt, the same as it would on a concrete road.

Most porous paver units are made with High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), a strong plastic that has a high resistance to environmental factors and is chemically inert. Cold temperatures and freezing and melting snow or ice will not cause damage or deformation to the paver material. Most importantly, HDPE is chemically stable, so it will not react to applied deicers, including road salt.

The added benefit to using a PPS is that the melting snow will infiltrate through the infill material and into the sub-base, minimizing the amount of surface water that could refreeze over time. With the ice at the surface removed or reduced, the insulating effect is gone, reducing the need for deicing salts by up to 70%. And you don’t need to worry about freeze-thaw issues in the base of the PPS either, because of how the open-graded aggregate’s high void space gives the water room to expand as it forms to ice. See More on Freeze-Thaw >>

Of course, deicers should only be used on aggregate infilled PPS as they would do damage to vegetated paver systems.

Can I Apply Sand to Porous Pavements?

Using sand, saw dust, kitty litter, or other abrasive materials on the surface of fallen snow can create traction to prevent slips, but doesn’t promote melting. More importantly, sand is only effective when it is on top–if it is buried or when the snow melts, the sand is ineffective.

Sand should not be used on PPS because it will eventually seep into the open-graded aggregate base underneath the paver units, causing it to clog. A clogged system will not work properly, leading to excessive maintenance requirements in the spring. Avoiding sand and other fine-grained materials will help keep the PPS in ready-mode for the next snowfall.

Can I Use a Snowplow on Porous Pavers?

When heavy snowfalls occur, you cannot rely on deicing alone. For residential or small porous pavement areas, using a hand shovel is perfect for clearing away the snow; but for larger areas, snowplows are the way to go. When plowing over any gravel areas—especially gravel-filled porous pavers–snow blade shoes are recommended. The snow blade shoes will protect the paver units, while avoiding excess wear or movement of the gravel material. When using the blade shoes, snowplows have no special requirements. Simply run the plow according to standard use.

If a blade shoe is not available, the plow’s blade should remain 1 to 2 inches above the paver system to avoid damaging the units or catching on the system. Typically, there isn’t a need for deicers as the warmth of the ground permeates through the open-graded base course and melts the thin layer of unplowed snow—but if desired, deicers can be applied to melt the remaining snow.

How Do I Remove Snow from Grass Pavers?

If the porous pavement system has topsoil infill and sprouts vegetation, then snow removal is typically not required. The grassed area should look and act like a regular lawn, so snow can accumulate and melt naturally. When the snow melts in the spring, maintain the vegetated porous pavement area in accordance with regular landscaping plans.

In the case where snow removal is required—such as an emergency lane—simply leave the blade up 2 inches and allow the remaining snow to melt off naturally. It may be necessary to have visibility poles marking the boundaries of the porous pavement area.

Making Winter Surfaces Safer

As you can see, snow removal on porous pavement systems is easy. Roads, parking lots and walking trails will not only be safer, but with a porous pavement system, drainage and runoff during the spring melt will not be an issue either.

Presto Geosystems offers the GEOBLOCK® grass and GEOPAVE® gravel porous pavement systems to help control stormwater, meet load requirements and suit landscape plans.

Watch this video to learn more about our PPS and start building green today.

For more information on porous pavements, visit our web page: Porous Pavements.

    

Porous Pavements Myth Buster: Clogging

Written By: Bill Handlos, P.E.

All Porous Pavements Do Not Clog

Well-designed porous pavement systems resist clogging

While it is important to design porous pavement systems (PPS) to resist the effects of silt, grit, sand and other fine material that can slow or stop infiltration of water – It is a common myth that all porous pavement systems eventually clog. On the contrary, a good PPS system design, simple but effective site design and careful construction inspection and field guidance can all but eliminate the clogging threat.

System design do’s and don’ts.

Cross-sections will vary according to the porous pavement systems selected, but there are some common concepts that need to be followed for successful, long-lasting percolation.

 

 

Never place filter fabric immediately below the porous pavement surface. Whether using pervious concrete, porous asphalt, polyethylene injection molded paving block (such as GEOBLOCK vegetated or GEOPAVE non-vegetated PPS) or concrete paving stone, your cross-section should allow free flow from the paving layer to the base and storage layers. The last thing you want is to trap water in your pavement layer. Surprisingly, at least one aggregate PPS manufacturer sells their product with a filter fabric attached to the bottom of the units.

Always use a filter fabric or other separator at the bottom of the base layer if the subbase contains fines that can move up into the open graded base course when saturated.

Choose wisely when specifying choker course and base gradation. A choker course is not necessary for polyethylene molded block products, since they ride on the surface of the open graded base course. It is necessary for brick pavers, pervious concrete and porous asphalt. You should select choker course materials carefully so as not to have them migrate into the base and create settlement problems. Choose too fine a material and you have settlement; choose too coarse and your paving surface will not place properly.

 

Common site design errors.


Drainage
is still important, but for different reasons. For impervious surfaces, positive drainage to avoid puddling is standard. For pervious surfaces, one has to consider drainage below the surface. The design needs to consider water moving through the base to the low spot of the pavement area. Be cautious not to discharge from the base up through the surface of the pavement course. Consider a 50-foot long pervious pavement driveway at a 4% slope. There would be 2 feet of fall from the high-end to the low-end and in a heavy rain event, water could become transient and flow out of the pavement at the low side. This horizontal transportation of water brings with it silt and sand that would become concentrated at the low-end of the pavement structure.

Another way that site design could create clogging is lack of consideration for off-pavement sheet flow. Whether it’s leaves, grass clippings, or silt and topsoil – pavement adjacent drainage can transport contaminants in heavy loading conditions. Cut off swales and site contouring can prevent this from happening.

Common installation errors.


Pervious concrete
should be a very stiff and dry mix. Adding water to the mix for workability at the site leads to the paste being pulled down by gravity and settling at the bottom of the concrete lift. With that thin layer of paste hardening, the high-volume water flow gets caught like a perched water table within the pervious concrete. This is not only bad for volume flow, but in cold-weather climates can create a standing water layer.

Gradations with a high degree of fines should be avoided for both aggregate polyethylene block style pavement as well as for open graded base course material. While there is no need for washed material, delivering material with high fines content essentially pre-contaminates your porous pavement system.

In some areas, river rock or brownstone is plentiful and inexpensive. The specifier should fight the urge to accept such stone as a substitute for crushed aggregate base course. Good porous pavement locks up and carries load well.

Some resin based block style products specify sand bases. While initially a coarse sand can drain adequately, it will quickly become clogged, water will saturate, pore pressures will rise and saturated conditions will lead to running.

How do you guarantee success?

Intelligent design by experienced manufacturers and engineers placed by seasoned contractors who understand that the details of the solution matter.

For more information on porous pavements, visit our web page: Porous Pavements.

    

 

Porous Pavements Myth Buster: Winter Durability

Written By: Bill Handlos, P.E.

Properly designed porous pavement systems do not get damaged by the dynamics of freeze thaw cycles.

For decades, civil engineering roadway designers have been trained to use positive drainage, crack sealing, and sealcoating to keep the area under pavement dry. The prevailing mentality was to use well-graded, tightly compacted base under impervious concrete or asphalt wearing surfaces. When water gets between the well-graded base and the impervious surface—frost conditions would lift pavements, weaken base structure, create potholes and in general, wreak havoc with the life of the pavement.

  

So, it is not surprising that age-old tenets related to moisture, seepage and freeze-thaw cycles get mistakenly applied to porous pavement systems.

What makes well-designed porous pavement cross-sections so resistant to the power of freezing and expanding water? The answer is space. Poorly-graded crushed aggregate offers up to 40% void ratio which gives water a place to move, a place to expand into upon freezing, and a network of pathways to drain.

High void ratio systems allow the Earth’s natural warmth to move up from below the frost line into and through the open-air system just as water and ice-melt moves down and through the system. If the water can’t permeate into the ground and is trapped in the open-graded base system, the voids allow expansion of the water as it forms to ice to harmlessly expand into the void areas.

How Freeze-Thaw Affects Porous Pavement

There are more than one freeze types. There is the dry freeze and the hard dry freeze condition that describes regions with low precipitation and multiple freeze thaw cycles or only one or two freeze cycles, respectively. Neither of these freeze types challenge porous pavement systems, because they lack moisture.

There are wet freeze regions having 15+ freeze thaw cycles that require 6 to 12 inches of open-graded base course to safely allow expansion of the water that percolates and drains through the pavement and base throughout the cycles.

Then there is the more challenging hard wet freeze. This is the condition described by areas that have moderate to high precipitation combined with a frost depth that develops over the course of several months. The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association offers a solid set of recommendations defining open-graded base course depth and the porous pavement depth, based on 65% of the maximum frost depth for the area. So, an area that gets 24 inches of frost depth should design for a 16-inch total pervious cross-section. The 16 inches includes the porous pavement, the open-graded base course and any pervious subbase.

 

Concerns with freeze-thaw having negative effects on the performance of porous pavements is understandable, but simply a myth. Because of their high void space and ability to allow expansion of water to ice, freeze-thaw cycles have very little effect on porous pavements.

 

So, you can have all of the benefits of porous pavements—reduce detention pond system expenses, reduce land utilization for stormwater purposes, return water to the aquifer below and cut stormwater conveyance and structure costs—with the comfort of knowing that freeze thaw cycles will not damage your porous pavement.

For more information on porous pavements, visit our web page: Porous Pavements.

    

 

Porous Pavements Myth Buster: Winter Maintenance

Written By: Bill Handlos, P.E.

Winter Maintenance for Porous & Pervious Pavements

Porous pavement systems are a great way to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff on your site, and incorporate Low Impact Development (LID) practices. One of the simplest ways of creating a porous pavement area is to confine unbound aggregate in a rigid paving unit such as the GEOPAVE® Aggregate Porous Paver. The GEOPAVE system is similar to pervious concrete and porous asphalt solutions, but is usually both less expensive and easier to install.

Porous Pavements Are Difficult to Maintain in Winter Weather Conditions.

 

NOT TRUE! The GEOPAVE Aggregate Porous Paver system is easy to maintain, and requires no special equipment. GEOPAVE parking lots or low volume roadways can be maintained in much the same way as a regular concrete or asphalt surface.

An unbound aggregate system has many maintenance benefits over other porous pavement systems. Look at the table below and you’ll see how the GEOPAVE system beats pervious concrete and porous asphalt every time.

 

 


(Click Chart to Zoom)

 

The GEOPAVE rigid porous pavement system is comparable to standard paving materials, and a cut above other porous pavement systems. GEOPAVE systems have all of the benefits of hard surface porous pavements—fast infiltration, reduced runoff, no traffic restrictions—with a safer winter surface, much lower cost, and none of the maintenance hardships.

For more information on porous pavements, visit our web page: GEOPAVE Permeable Gravel Pavers

    

 

How Architectural & Engineering Consulting Firms Can Win More Work

By: William G Handlos, P.E.

Why do some Architectural and Engineering consultants perennially get their choice of work?

Let’s face it, most of the time; all of the invited and interviewed teams have the requisite experience and competence to accomplish the stated scope of work. You’re pretty sure that you have checked all the boxes on your Statement of Qualifications and your written proposal is complete and clearly shows your team has the design solution experience relevant to the task at hand. So why do you not have more wins?

Let’s take a look at how clients really make decisions.

Here is how we think that we choose. Does the consultant have:

  • Unimpeachable character
  • Relevant solid experience
  • Exhibits problem-solving skills
  • Outstanding communications skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills

 

Most consultants also believe that the best way to reach success in a presentation is to build the case for their side using reason and facts. Of course, there always needs to be a fundamental foundation of experience and qualification as a cost of entry. Written proposals are much more objectively weighed. However, neuroscience tells us that the factors that really affect decision-making are more emotional than logical.

Here is how we really choose:

  • Do I feel that I can trust them?
  • Do I feel like we would work well together?
  • Do I like them?
  • Will they be open to my ideas?
  • Will they give me cover, make me look good?

Even though we put together systems to help us focus on the facts such as checklist, rating grids, attribute grades and well documented scorecards—our biases towards emotions are driving our decisions even as we go through our systematic approach.

One particularly powerful obstacle to be chosen as a successful consultant occurs when the presenter is perceived as unwilling or unqualified to present options. A typical client will want to play a role in the decision-making and will resent a candidate who appears to be interested in only one solution. The client doesn’t typically know it, but they will give more credence to a candidate who appears to have more than one arrow in their quiver.

Returning to the original question. How do you get more wins?

Differentiation. You need to make your firm memorable. One way to leave a lasting impression on a potential client is to show that your team has knowledge and access to both traditional solutions and to proven nontraditional solutions.

For example, you are asked to make a proposal to solve severe slope stability issues for steep slope conditions in an erosive soil condition. You include examples of terraced wall solutions using gabions to retain the soil. You show several success stories in case study format.

Rather than stopping there, you include a less mainstream solution that allows for green vegetation on the face of the walls utilizing geocell technology. While your clients will not always choose to employ specialty geosynthetic options, they will be impressed by consultants who offer options and most importantly—you will be remembered as a knowledgeable, innovative, and creative service provider.

The first step in becoming a memorable firm starts with exposing your professionals to new ideas.

Our professionals on the Geosystems Technical Team and our worldwide network of trained distributors are happy to present unique solution sets that are responsible for saving owners millions of dollars in reduced excavation & base preparation costs; contractors countless days off schedule; and we help engineers differentiate themselves from the crowd.

Win more work. Make yourself memorable.

Contact www.prestogeo.com for more information.

Why would you put nails in an aggregate porous pavement?

Written By: Bill Handlos, PE

Every one of them. Each and every one of the spikes required to anchor this “invisible” product has pushed up. If consistency is the hallmark of excellence, then the maker of the gravel pavers that comes on a roll—“nailed” it.

Take a look at what mother nature does, after each winter, to 8 inch spikes that were intended to hold down the ultra lightweight gravel paving product.

For those of you who are blessed to live in an area where there is not frost each winter, let me explain. Whether you get 12 inches or 3 feet of frost, the frozen ground pushes up rocks, pipes, fence posts, garden lanterns and, yes, 8 inch nails.

As a result, the parking area constructed in Wisconsin, whose specifications call for the use of spikes that are intended to stop the material from moving under the rotational torque loading of pneumatic tires (or for you non-engineers, tires) — well, that parking lot has just become the local tire repair center’s best friend.

Tires do not like nails. Tires especially do not like nails that are sticking out by about an inch firmly held in place waiting to attack a twisting parking tire.

Here’s the worst of it! The 8 inch nails didn’t even stop the material from coming up when subjected to rotational forces. The following photo shows why a rigid planar aggregate porous pavement is a better choice.

We recommend the GEOPAVE® aggregate porous pavement system. Requires no maintenance, no worries and definitely no nails.

For more information, see https://www.prestogeo.com/products/porous-pavement/geopave-aggregate-porous-pavement/.

Railroad ballast performance improvement using GEOWEB®

Every year, railroads dedicate a great deal of capital and maintenance expense towards the creation and upkeep of high quality ballast layers. Enduring well-designed ballast is quite literally the foundation on which a successful rail line operates. With ballooning rail traffic carrying heavier loads than ever, GEOWEB cellular confinement (Geocell) effectively takes the pressure off critical ballast systems.

Oregon State University (OSU) recently performed state-of-the-art, three-dimensional dynamic Finite Element modeling to analyze the reinforcing benefit of GEOWEB geocells in railway applications. This study was completed in cooperation with the University of Kansas (KU) who simultaneously performed a testing program of Geocell reinforced ballast placed over weak subgrade material using HDPE GEOWEB material.

The digital modeling results were reinforced by the laboratory tests and showed a significant decrease in settlement of the railway ballast when GEOWEB confinement was used. The use of GEOWEB technology not only decreased settlement, but reduced pressure on point-to-point aggregate load transfer contact which in turn resulted in less damage to ballast aggregate particles leading to less progressive deformation and longer maintenance frequencies of the entire ballast embankment. In short, more cycles means less track down-time for maintenance.

The research results were clear. The benefits of applying GEOWEB Geocell confinement for reinforcement of real ballast over weak subgrades includes:

  • Significant decrease in settlement of the railway ballast. GEOWEB confinement influence reduced settlement by to up 50% under heavy freight loadings over weak sub grades.
  • Decrease in subgrade interface pressure by nearly 50% for weak subgrades. The decreased pressure in subgrade results in lower subgrade settlements.
  • Increase in ballast resiliency after many cycles—resulting in decreased rate of cyclic settlement.
  • Decrease in lateral heave and movement of the ballast material.
  • Redistribution of vertical stresses on the subgrade—resulting in higher shear strength and reduction in plastic deformation.
  • For the largest loading conditions used in the analysis, the strains in the GEOWEB geocell were low (less than 1%) and within the elastic range for typical geosynthetic materials. The maximum tensile strains were localized at the bottom corners of the GEOWEB cells, illustrating the importance of adequately durable seams.
  • Strains in the GEOWEB ballast layer were low (less than 1%) even under heavy, freight loadings over very soft sub grades. Stress concentrations were found at the seams, highlighting the importance of GEOWEB seam strength during loading condition.

A Better Built Ballast

The benefits of GEOWEB confined ballast are substantiated through rigorous testing. Conventional ballast reinforcing materials (eg geogrids, Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA)) do not have the strengthening attributes that GEOWEB geocells can provide, especially in soft subgrades. Building a more stable ballast layer with less settlement, higher shear strength, and less maintenance requirements is possible when built with GEOWEB geocells.

For more information, see https://www.prestogeo.com/applications/railroad/aar-ttci-performance-tested/.
Request an on-site technical presentation: https://www.prestogeo.com/lunch-and-learn/

Why Geocells Outperform Geogrids for Road Construction

Written By: Bill Handlos, PE, Director of Presto Geosystems

Geocells (cellular confinement) offer a more effective and practical 3D design solution to load support challenges than multilayered 2D geogrid efforts. Geocells transfer applied loads instantaneously, delivering practical soil stabilization in a product that is fast and easy to install.

Blog: Geogrids Product      Blog: GEOWEB Geocells Unpaved Roads

How do geogrids work?

Geogrids rely on rutting, displacement and lateral movement of the road material to activate the load support reaction of the product. As shown below, failure of the driving surface must occur before the geogrid reacts. As a result, rutting and soil displacement is a prerequisite reality to the system. Since the geogrid is two-dimensional, material not located directly within the plane occupied by the geogrid is free to move, shift and displace.

Blog: DiagramIt is essential that geogrids are placed in a flat or a pre-tensioned manner—but that is not practical in a construction environment. It is common to see geogrids unrolled over a prepared grade with an undulating surface. As aggregate is placed over the top of the geogrid, the material kinks and waves, further warping the 2D plane. The geogrid is rarely pulled tight during installation which does not allow full tension under load.

 

 

Geogrids are difficult to install in soft subgrades

In cases where subgrade is particularly poor, over-saturated, or already damaged by rutting, geogrids are even more difficult to place flat and tight as recommended. Soft subbase does not support medium or heavy construction equipment to place and spread the base layer over the geogrid without deforming the geogrid even further. The overall deformation creates an uneven geogrid layer that is poorly suited to function as intended.

Often, geogrid manufacturers recommend two, or even three layers of geogrids to create a stiffened aggregate cross-section. This approach improves load support performance of the geogrids, but is time-intensive, as each layer must be unfurled, covered and compacted separately. Cost of installation and materials double and triple with the additional layers.

How do geocells work?

Geocells are 3D structures that utilize the cell hoop strength, passive earth pressures, and particle confinement to create a stiff mattress layer that resists wheel loads immediately upon impact and without the partial driving surface failure required by geogrids. Load induced stresses are transferred from the infill particles to the cell wall and counteracted by hoop resistance and passive resistance of adjacent cells.

Blog: GEOWEB Geocell Load Support Diagram

Workers expand geocells over the subbase quickly and easily and it is not critical that the geocells be pre-tensioned or placed perfectly on-grade. Loaders, bulldozers and bobcats are employed to fill the geocells. Loaded dump trucks can back over ‘just-filled’ geocells with no damage to the product and no effect on the performance of the material.

Unlike geogrids, geocells are effective with a wide variety of infill, and are not limited to the high quality aggregate required for geogrids. Sand, fine aggregate, gravel or breaker run, all see their properties enhanced by the strength of high density polyethylene (HDPE) geocells. The ability to use on-site infill or locally available materials can yield increased savings to the project.

Geocells are ideal for installation over soft soils

No equipment is necessary to expand geocell sections, so they can be placed over the softest of subbases and low-pressure equipment is not required to infill the cells. Simply back up full-size loaded dump trucks, empty the payload and spread the granular material in and over the geocell.

Geocells Proven Performance

Geocells have been successfully improving road life of paved and unpaved highways, access roads and work platforms for 40 years. Since the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) co-developed the technology in partnership with Presto Products, thousands of GEOWEB® geocell load support projects have saved millions of dollars in construction costs and provided three-dimensional stabilization simply not available with the use of traditional geogrids. Browse our project case studies, photos and videos here.

Request an on-site technical presentation to learn more about the GEOWEB® Geocell Confinement System.

Bringing Stability to an Unstable World

With this summer’s extremely wet weather conditions across the country, building access roads is a major challenge.  Muddy, soft ground is causing construction delays when it comes to moving heavy vehicles and equipment over the soft soils.

Presto’s GEOWEB® Soil Stabilization System offers a way to build roads even with these site challenges using low-cost, local fill—and has been doing so for over 30 years. In fact, the GEOWEB system is the go-to solution for many oil companies in remote areas like the Canadian oil sands and the Amazon basin. Recently, EnergyNow Media featured an article on GEOWEB roads addressing the latest access challenges in the energy sector. The EnergyNow article is republished below.


Reprint of recent article written by “EnergyNow Media” (North American Energy Magazine)

Presto Geosystems: Bringing Stability to an Unstable World

Geoweb Cells with Infill

Oil and gas is a tricky business. Everything from resource extraction to site management to processing is fraught with difficulties, challenges, and trials. However, one often-overlooked aspect within this industry is that of simply being able to access the resource site in the first place. Once access is established, it’s crucial that there is a clean, stable platform to work on and transport resources back out. As anyone familiar with the industry knows, energy resources are rarely discovered in local, easily accessible areas. Rather, oil and gas drilling most often takes place in the most far-flung reaches of wilderness imaginable, where even constructing safe, reliable roads and working platforms can be a near-insurmountable challenge.

In these situations, Presto Geosystems truly excels.

Established in Appleton, Wisconsin, Presto Geosystems specializes in soil stabilization and cellular confinement technology. In 1978, Gary Bach developed the Presto Geosystems crowning achievement: the 3D geocell. Since then, Presto Geosystems has lead the way in their field, culminating with the most recent iteration of their flagship soil stabilization product: GEOWEB®, which offers the highest and longest-lasting performance of any geocell stabilization system on the civilian market today. The GEOWEB product is designed to handle the abuse from repeated heavy truck and equipment loading over some of the worst, wet soft soils.  Able to use local on-site fill – even sand – makes the 3D geocell system the quickest way to build roads and platforms in remote areas with limited aggregate resources.

“It’s critical that the weld is consistent so that you can count on the strength of these systems, and know how much load you can carry,” Presto Geosystems Director, Bill Handlos, explains. “The tensile strength of the strip is important so that it’s not too stiff, or too soft…there’s a blend that’s just right. This is what we’ve perfected.” It’s this dogged pursuit of excellence that has made the Presto Geosystems name synonymous with quality and stability when it comes to building site access roads, oil pads, work platforms, surface pipeline protection, construction mats, and much more.

In addition, Presto Geosystems works to provide project support from the very inception of an endeavour all the way up to the completion of a satisfactory installation. “We shine because we’re willing to start during the project conception and vision,” Handlos states proudly. “We do a lot of work with engineers to define the problem and give them evaluations to get them started. As (loadings) become more defined, we often refine and revise designs. We take a journey with our clients without asking for a dime. As they purchase the material, we go to the site with them to give them tips and tricks to help lay down the product faster.” It takes an incredible amount of commitment and dedication to provide so much hands-on assistance even once the product has been sold and shipped out the door, but for Presto Geosystems, that’s simply another part of day-to-day operations.

Providing outstanding levels of client support is one thing, but that doesn’t amount to much if the end product isn’t up to standard. As in all things, however, Presto Geosystems holds itself to an exceptionally high level of excellence and quality when it comes to the materials it develops and advocates for. “We’ve proven that our products work for almost four decades,” Handlos confidently states. “The fact that we invented the product speaks volumes as well. Our models are spot-on in forecasting how the product will hold up, and we have the experience and knowledge to quickly get the product in the ground.”

More than that, Presto Geosystems is made up of team members who have a profound level of respect for the environment, and encourage green practices and policies whenever they are able to. “Our most successful people are those who value the lower carbon footprint that our product creates,” Handlos tells us. “You’re using less natural resources, and saving money all around. We are the green solution, and that matters quite a bit to oil and gas companies, as they are trying to do things with as little impact as they can. We play a role there.”

Ultimately, everything circles back to the outstanding, innovative line of products and services that Presto Geosystems has created and continues to offer to the world stage. “We’re in 60 countries with our products, and are proud to offer free designs for our customers, as clients see the value in these savings,” Handlos lets us know. “We stabilize an unstable world. We are a solution when others won’t work, or are too expensive to deploy. We make it easy to design and construct. We stand behind our product. We’ve set the standards for our industry.

For more information on the pioneering services and products offered by Presto Geosystems, visit them online at www.prestogeo.com, or contact Bill Handlos at 1-800-548-3424 or bill.handlos@prestogeo.com.