Roads are an indispensable part of modern infrastructure. They enable the transport of people and goods around the world and have been around for thousands of years. In fact, the earliest evidence of constructed roads dates all the way back to 4,000 B.C., in former Mesopotamia (now Iraq) where these ancient, stone-paved roads were built using mud bricks and bitumen.It wasn’t until the late 19thcentury that the first modern road was built in Europe. In 1824, Paris’ famous Champs-Elysees of the 1600s was repaved with asphalt, paving the way for many conventional road building techniques that are still popular today.These conventional methods of building roads are products of thousands of years of engineering evolution, making them centuries-old and well-understood… but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re still the best methods, nor the most sustainable.That’s where Stratum Logics comes in.

Building for the 21st Century

Stratum Logics is a world-class team of geotechnical engineers who specialize in using all varieties of geosynthetics for civil projects large and small. Led by Dr. Sanat Pokharel, a world-renowned expert in the research and design of cellular geosynthetic reinforcement systems, Stratum’s engineers provide demonstrably effective design, planning, and construction supervision services to companies from a myriad of industries.

No alt text provided for this image

As highly-sought-out industry experts, we’re seeing more and more companies and government organizations proactively seeking new technologies to maximize efficiency in the road building process and improve the overall quality of these roads. This behavior is particularly prevalent when companies are looking to:

  • Enhance time efficiency when executing the design and construction phases
  • Maximize ROI
  • Minimize a project’s environmental impact
  • Reduce the frequency of required maintenance and repair
  • Utilizing inferior aggregates to complete projects at lower costs with superior results

Furthermore, the ability to perform year-round construction – particularly in severe terrain and/or across soft, impassable ground – is also increasing in demand, yet conventional road-building technologies struggle to provide this option.

The Old

Conventional roadways undergoing average use typically require some form of maintenance within the first two years, followed by recurring annual maintenance which can increase as the road degrades over time. What influences these maintenance requirements? Road maintenance cycles can be impacted by a number of factors, including:

  • The number of equivalent single-axle loadings (ESALs)
  • Weather
  • The type of road (temporary or permanent)
  • Soil composition specific to each region

Considering the fact that the design life of a typical road is 15 to 20 years, road maintenance costs have a substantial impact on the total lifecycle cost of a road. Fortunately, advances in road construction technology — such as NPA Geocells — are readily available and can significantly reduce these long-term maintenance costs.

The Evolution of NPA Geocells

No alt text provided for this image

Early “grid-confinement” systems were very different from geocell technologies as we now know them. Among the first materials used in testing were wax-coated paper, plastic drainpipe grids, aluminum, and pure polyethylene without UV stabilization.

It wasn’t until 1975 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began researching and developing cellular confinement systems as a solution to allow heavy military equipment to cross soft ground during landing operations. These engineers quickly learned that sand-confinement systems performed better than conventional techniques using crushed stone, ultimately requiring less time and providing more stability in wet weather conditions.

This led to the eventual creation and patent of novel polymeric alloy (NPA) geocells, commonly referred to as “Neoloy®”. Building on the widespread applications of geocells in civil engineering, Neoloy® was designed exclusively for high-strength geosynthetic application.

Introducing Tough Cell®

In 2012, Stratum Logics worked with Paradox Access Solutions Inc., Stratum’s sister company,totake Neoloy® technology a step further. Together, we sourced the industry’s best technology and became the sole Canadian distributor of Tough Cell®: a durable, sustainable, high-performance geocell made from Neoloy® and structured into a 3D honeycomb formation that maintains its dimensional stability in a wide variation of temperatures (-60°C to +60°C), under dynamic and cyclic loadings, and is highly resistant to polymeric creep.

No alt text provided for this image

Since its inception, Tough Cell® been hard at work for companies in oil & gas, energy, forestry, mining, rail, transportation, and numerous other industries.

For example, MEG Energy, a major upstream oil and gas company, needed a reliable temporary heavy haul access through muskeg up to three meters deep. Remote locations are often situated in areas with restricted access and/or in environments with soils like muskeg or bogs that are incapable to support heavy equipment without the use of new soil stabilizing technologies. Together, Stratum Logics and Paradox Access Solutions designed and built a three-and-a-half-kilometer by eight-meter access road using Tough Cell® CCS in a mere 40 days, widely exceeding MEG’s expectations.

Maximizing Your Project’s ROI

It’s important to understand that not all roads are alike, and each one requires thorough consideration. Many factors must be considered in order to establish the optimal project design and construction methodology.

Imagine you’re at the dentist seeking option for braces. Depending on your specific needs and circumstances, there are a variety of different options the dentist might recommend. There are instances when conventional practices such as wired braces or retainers might be suitable, and there are also instances when the added benefits of using more modern technologies are worth investing in.

Similarly, when it comes to road design and construction, there are some projects where traditional methods may serve best, and others where employing more advanced techniques (such as geosynthetic textiles and cellular confinement systems (CCS), also known as “geocells”) can provide benefits that substantially enhance a project’s KPIs.

Tough Cell® technology allows optimization according to performance requirements for each specific project, thus maximizing compatibility. This means your road, pad, slope, ditch, or foundation will have an optimized, engineered solution that is guaranteed superior to other alternatives… all while reducing project costs by as much as 50%.

No alt text provided for this image

Stratum’s Tough Cell® designs have served Alberta’s energy industry well, and many other industries are now reaping the benefits of Tough Cell® CCS applications, too, including public civil infrastructure, mining, forestry, airports, sea ports, railroads, wind turbine bases, solar installations, and hydroelectric structures, among others.

Join the Revolution

Join us this summer to learn how you can shift your roadways from liabilities to assets with discussions from technological, construction, and engineering perspectives at our 9-city “Revolutionary Road Solutions” summer workshop series featuring guest speakers from Stratum Logics.

Some of the agenda items that’ll be covered at these workshops include:

✔ Common failures of roadways
✔ The importance of cost tracking and asset management
✔  Introduction to geosynthetics (soil additives, planar geosynthetic solutions, 3D geo-synthetics)
✔ Geosynthetics installation, construction, and real-world project examples
✔ Understanding your gravel
✔  Basic principles of conventional road design
✔  Value engineering – choosing the best solution for your budget

… and many more! For more event information – including workshop locations, dates, and times – visit our official event website. Seats are filling up fast, so make sure to reserve your spot today!

No alt text provided for this image