Bridge Construction Works Come to a Halt Due to Poor Ground Conditions

The final stages of a bridge construction project had to come to a halt after poor ground conditions meant that the machinery could not access the difficult site location.  The job which involved placement of fill under a newly constructed bridge as support, meant the partial closure of a road and the on-site team working to a tight deadline to have the road re-opened.

The limited height under the bridge meant that special equipment in the form of a mini loader was needed to complete the works.  The site was located at the bottom of a steep hill which was saturated due to recent rains, making the access muddy and slippery.  Due to the mini loader’s small tracks it could not manoeuvre down the hill safely.  With the road partially closed, a solution was needed quickly.  The on-site team already had knowledge of the TuffTrak® product range, they were confident they could find an immediate solution.

A Solution Found in Temporary Ground Protection 

 A TuffTrak® representative visited the site location in order to assess the ground conditions, loading and support, surface traction, area, and project type.  Due to the soft ground conditions consisting of thick mud, and the weight and size of the mini loader, the best option was a combination of TuffTrak® XT overlapping heavy duty mats to create a temporary access platform for the work equipment and a sturdy work surface for the on-site team. The mat has a foam-filled core and an overlap connection with Four3 camlocks to avoid ingress of water and contaminants.  Its semi-rigid structure that prevents the mat from bending or distorting even with heavy loads on soft ground conditions were crucial for this type of project as the mats had to provide a firm, secure, and stable surface for the machinery to safely move over them.  The use of this type of overlapping connection system meant that the mud wouldn’t leak or force its way through the mats, helping to keep the working surface clean and safe to work on.  For the loading/staging platform, TuffTrak® XT mats were used.  In lab conditions, the TTXT could withstand loads of more than 1184 psi (832 tons/m2).  In the field, the load bearing capacity is always subject to ground conditions.  Their 4m x 2m size, and Four3 connector options made the TuffTrak® XT a perfect fit for this type of project.


VersaMat® and AlturnaMat® medium duty mats were used as they are lightweight and easy to deploy under the bridge.  VersaMat®’s of 1.22m x 2.24m were connected together to form access for the machinery to be maneuvered under the bridge, and AlturnaMat®’s of 0.91m x 1.83m were also used to create a temporary path on the steep incline to move the mini loader safely down the hill to the TuffTrak® XT staging area.  In order to carefully set the TuffTrak® XT in place, a LinkBelt 210x excavator with a hydraulic thumb was used.

The combination of these three ground protection products, each with their unique benefits and design considerations meant that the project only came to a halt for 1 hour 45 minutes.  The mats took 15 minutes to install, and allowed the equipment to move freely and safely.  Thanks to the quick thinking of the on-site team the works continued unhindered for the remainder of the project.

The excavator operator on the site said, “The TuffTrak® XT worked perfectly.  The mats were solid enough to accomplish what we needed to do.  We would use them again and recommend them to others.”

About TuffTrak®

TuffTrak® provides high quality temporary access and ground protection solutions across the European, USA, Middle Eastern, and Australian markets for the oil and gas, transmission and distribution, construction, civil engineering, renewable energy, and event sectors.  Our innovative, high quality solutions have an emphasis on the latest technology for maximising performance, ease of use, safety, value, and sustainability for the environment.

TuffTrak®’s success is also built on listening and responding to our customer’s specific requirements and problems.  We understand temporary access and ground protection is not just a question of delivering products to a customer; it requires the time and commitment to understand the customer’s unique requirements, including ground and weather conditions, and the range of vehicles, plant, and personnel involved in any project.

Our commitment in providing industry expertise and innovation is prevalent in all of our operations, and we ensure that we provide the best products and service to our customers.

For more information about our ground protection products please click here.