The 3D cellular confinement technology was developed by Presto Products Company and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in the late 1970’s. The goal was to create a means for building roadways over poor subgrades using sand. Ultrasonically-welded strips of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) form the three-dimensional GEOWEB® System-—giving cohesion and additional strength to non-cohesive soils, through confinement. This translates well for the Canadian Oil Sands where soft subgrades and limited access to aggregate makes building roads to oil sites especially challenging.
Alberta’s Oil Sands operators have capitalized on the GEOWEB system’s ‘cellular confinement’ technology. Producers are often faced with the challenging need to build access roads and drill pads that can accommodate construction, drilling and completions equipment with typical loads exceeding 125,000 lbs (15,000 lb wheel loads). These roads and pads are often built over extremely soft subgrades of muskeg and saturated clays with CBR (California Bearing Ratio) values of less than 1.0.
The GEOWEB roadway system is often the chosen solution for these challenging conditions as it greatly reduces the cross-section required—often replacing a 1.5 m section with a 200 mm section. Additionally, reject screenings from crushing operations (coarse sand <5 mm) can be used as infill rather than having to import expensive aggregate to the site.
Further construction savings can be computed, as a team of three laborers are able to deploy the GEOWEB material at a rate of about 280 m2/hour. To simply install 25 m2 GEOWEB sections (2.6m x 9.6m), expand and anchor using temporary stakes, pour infill using large dump trucks, and spread the infill using dozers and/or skid steers. Once filled, the GEOWEB roadway is ready for immediate traffic.
The GEOWEB system is a proven solution for building roadways over soft subgrades.
- Use of on-site fill.
- No weather restrictions.
- No temperature restrictions.
- Easy to transport and easy to deploy material.
The GEOWEB system can handle the toughest site conditions—and has been for over 30 years—allowing energy companies quick access to their oil.