How to build temporary roadways in marine applications

Marine environments can be some of the most challenging to work in, especially for vehicles that are designed to operate on land.

Wet surfaces, soft ground (ranging from marshy mud to shifting sand) and tidal flows can all put vehicles at risk, as well as introducing additional costs and delays.

Temporary roadways are one way to improve access using highly cost-efficient materials, as well as protecting the land itself while work is carried out.

Hardwood mats offer several benefits for marine applications:

  • Create access to remote coastal locations
  • Provide stability on sand and other soft ground
  • Elevate vehicles above areas of standing water

However, there are also obstacles to constructing temporary roadways in marine applications, such as the need to work within the window of opportunity between high tides.

The solution is to build temporary roadways using timber mats. These can get wet when the tide comes in, without sustaining significant damage. They can be moved quickly into place and anchored firmly.

Where extra height is needed to raise vehicles above the water line, timber roadway mats can serve as their own foundations, just by stacking multiple mats perpendicular to one another.

All of this adds up to a quick, easy and cost-effective way to build temporary roadways in marine applications.

Of course the same is also true for inland bodies of water, whether that’s boggy, swampy or marshy land, the shore around lakes, or work on manmade waterways such as canals.

Timber is a natural material, so the presence of bog mats should not pose an environmental concern in itself, but can help to protect against damage to the ground surface, whether that’s dry land on the shoreline or waterlogged coastal and tidal zones.

And any mats that are no longer needed once work is completed can be fully recycled, again supporting a commitment to environmentally friendly operations.

To find out more about bog mats to hire or for sale, or for case studies of our timber mats used as temporary roadways for marine applications, contact Timbermat today and we will be happy to help you choose the best hardwood mats for your upcoming job.

How bog mats help piling operations

Piling is an important part of many construction projects, to create firm foundations for a structure, or to underpin an existing building that has fallen victim to subsidence.

However, by definition, piling operations are often carried out on unstable ground or expansive soils, which may be more likely to shift beneath the weight of heavy machinery.

This is where many of the benefits of bog mats for piling operations come from, as they offer a way to prevent this compaction of the soil and to create a stable, solid working platform for piling rigs and other heavy plants.


Distributing weight with bog mats


When you apply pressure to a bog mat, it is distributed across the entire area of the timber mat, helping to equalise the downward force on the soil below.

The principle is similar to that of snow shoes, which spread the weight over a larger area so that the wearer does not sink into the snow.

On sites with expansive soils, this can allow heavy machinery and vehicles to access the site, without putting them at risk of getting bogged down in compacted soil.


Ground protection mats


Bog mats double as ground protection mats to prevent unnecessary damage or disturbance of the soil beneath.

Again, on sites where the earth would otherwise be churned up by tyres and tracks, this can help to spread the weight so there are no deep ruts or furrows left behind.

This not only improves safety over long-term projects by maintaining smooth, stable ground conditions but also reduces costs associated with putting the land right again once work is complete.


Temporary access roads


Getting piling rigs to the location in the first place can be challenging, but bog mats can be used to create temporary access roads so rigs can be manoeuvred into position quickly and safely.

Timber mats can be butted up against each other for a consistent access road surface, and can easily turn corners as required if access is not possible in a direct straight line.

Even if the work area is stable and solid, this allows temporary access roads to be constructed to navigate various soil conditions along the route, as well as to smooth over any slight changes in elevation on the way.

Which size bog mat should I use?

Choosing the right size bog mat doesn’t have to be too difficult. Often you can be guided by the job you are working on, including the ground conditions, the type of traffic – pedestrian, vehicle or heavy plant – and the amount of weight you need to spread over a larger area.

Timber mats serve a range of different purposes. On soft ground, they can be a way to create a stable platform and to distribute pressure more evenly to prevent machinery from sinking.

Alternatively, they can be used as a demarcation system to show the route that should be taken along temporary walkways and temporary access roads. This can help you to choose the best size bog mats for the job.

What size are bog mats?

Bog mats normally come one metre wide, and either three or five metres long. Regardless of thickness, most of the timber mats for sale and hire on our website are either 1m x 3m or 1m x 5m.

You can easily place multiple mats alongside each other to cover a larger area, for example to create a staging area for materials, a parking zone for vehicles, or a lifting platform for cranes.

Alternatively, place bog mats end to end for a long, narrow line that can work well as a temporary walkway for pedestrians, especially where space is at a premium and you don’t want a wide walkway.

How thick are bog mats?

In terms of thickness, there are several options to choose from:

· 70mm bog mats for loads up to 35 tonnes

· 100mm bog mats for loads up to 45 tonnes

· 150mm bog mats for loads up to 60 tonnes

For even heavier loads, we can supply 200mm and 250mm timber mats, in sizes of 1m x 6m. These are some of our most durable timber mats for heavy-duty operations, and for use on very soft ground such as in tidal areas.

Where are temporary roads required?

Bog mats are a good way to create temporary roads and temporary walkways wherever they are needed. They are easy to transport, easy to place in position, and connect together to create a stable roadway with no breaks in it.

In practice, there are very few limits on where temporary roads can be used. Bog mats are versatile and hard-wearing, and can be used in environments where other temporary road mats are not suitable.

For example, timber mats can be used in tidal zones and marshland, and can be stacked in an H-shape to raise the roadway up above the water level if required.

Some other examples of where temporary roadways are required include:

  • To distribute pressure more evenly across soft or waterlogged ground
  • To bridge small gaps, gulleys or underground voids along a route
  • To create a temporary access road to a work site with no vehicle access

The last of those points is very broad and gives an idea of how versatile temporary road mats can be, to create a vehicular route on to all kinds of active work sites.

Just some examples of this are:

  • Grassy fields at risk of churning into mud slicks
  • Wetlands, marshy ground and coastal sites
  • Sites that are ordinarily inaccessible e.g. drained canals

Temporary roadways can also be laid for convenience. For example, if you are hosting an event such as a festival on farmland or similar, a temporary roadway can signal the route for vehicles to take, using ground protection mats to preserve the grass beneath.

Equally on a construction site, a temporary roadway can be used to protect the permanent roadway beneath, so there is no damage to rectify due to rugged tyres and tracks driving over the road surface while the work is carried out.

So temporary roads serve several different purposes:

  • Access
  • Convenience
  • Protection

You can of course create a separate temporary pedestrian walkway to keep people away from vehicle routes, which further enhances safety on sites with public access.

To find out more about our temporary road mats for hire and for sale, please contact Timbermat today and we can help you decide what you need for your future projects.

How to free heavy machinery stuck in mud

If you need to free heavy machinery stuck in mud, you’re likely to need two things: more heavy machinery and a way to reach your bogged-down equipment.

Where to start with mud-trapped machinery

Assuming the machinery already stuck is not able to escape the mud even with a dry clean roadway, then it’s important to consider not only the weight of the equipment used to pull it out, but also the additional forces that will be exerted during the pulling or lifting process.

Because of this, it’s crucial to spread the load of the lifting vehicle so as to minimise the downward pressure on the mud and prevent another vehicle from getting stuck.

How can Timbermat help?

We supply heavy equipment mats for some of the most challenging working environments, as they can be used in different configurations to overcome obstacles like waterlogged land and even bridging across gaps. These uniquely engineered timber mats are substantially stronger than standard bog mats and are fully tested, making it possible to calculate specific deflection and ground pressure conditions under certain loads.

On extremely boggy land, heavy equipment bog mats can be laid in an H-configuration with mats laid across beneath the main temporary roadway, effectively acting as outriggers to spread the pressure over a larger area.

This can create an access roadway even on extremely challenging sites, providing a means for the rescue vehicle to reach the swamped equipment and haul it out on to the roadway.

Can you build a road to freedom?

In some cases where equipment is only partially bogged down but unable to move, it may be possible to free it by laying a clean, dry and solid temporary roadway right up to the tyres to provide some purchase.

Again, heavy equipment mats are a good choice for this on very wet ground, and we have an extensive range of alternative options that could also be suitable in less challenging conditions.

For this purpose, the idea is to lay a dry roadway in front of the vehicle (or behind it, if attempting to reverse out of a mud slick) and use its own engine and tyre tread to establish enough grip with the textured surface of the timber mats and transfer enough power to drive out on to dry and solid ground.

Timbermat can help free your trapped equipment. Just get in contact with us today to discuss options. It might also be a good idea to be prepared for next time!

The Purpose of Bog Mats

In essence, the purpose of bog mats is simple: protecting the ground when it is subject to heavy use. Without them, you may find the quality of the ground rapidly disintegrating, leading to long-lasting damage which is difficult and expensive to repair.

Before looking to buy or hire bog mats, however, it is vital to know exactly what you’re looking for. There is a broad range of options, and making the wrong decision could lead to damage still occurring.

What are bog mats?

Bog mats are a ground protection solution used to create long-term temporary access roads on construction sites located on or near fragile ground. They help to limit the project’s impact on the surrounding environment and provide access to hard-to-reach areas to heavy machinery.

As well as this, bog mats also help people who work on-site. Even if protection for environmental reasons isn’t a concern, as the ground becomes churned up, muddy and slippery, it becomes more difficult to traverse and can lead to accidents. All of this combines to allow projects to run in a smoother, more efficient manner, helping deadlines be met and decreasing costs.

Typically, bog mats will be manufactured from a variety of wood types, including:

Each type of wood has different strengths and weaknesses, meaning the bog mats used on one project may not necessarily be suitable for the next. If used properly, however, some bog mats can be used again and again for decades, making them a wise long-term investment for any business requiring them for multiple projects.

Who are bog mats used by?

Although it is most common to see bog mats being used to protect the ground in the construction sector, they have a wide range of potential uses and can be applied in a number of ways:

  • Providing temporary flooring for festivals and other outdoor events, ensuring minimal damage to the site
  • Staging areas which are used to hold and sort materials
  • Strengthen weak land, allowing access for cranes and other heavy vehicles
  • Demarcating safe routes through and around sites for vehicles and pedestrians
  • Reducing pressure points on land with buried utilities, basements, storage tanks and other cavities.

This wide range of applications means bog mats are used by a wide variety of businesses, including:

  • Housebuilders
  • Pipeline construction and maintenance companies
  • Civil engineers
  • Wind farm constructors
  • Festival organiser

If you’re working on an outdoor project which is expected to have heavy vehicle or foot traffic, bog mats are the ideal solution to many common problems.

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