factors of dust control

The Top 4 Factors That Determine the Cost of Soil Stabilization

In GreenPave™, Soil Stabilization, Unpaved Roads by Frank Elswick

A lot goes into to keeping an unpaved road strong and durable. Here are the top four factors that impact the number at the bottom of your receipt for an effective soil stabilization program.

Soil stabilization binds aggregate together to create a superior structure, ensuring that your road’s surface stays stable and smooth for years to come. Of course, this process comes with a price tag, and the cost can vary widely from road to road, depending on variations like native soil composition and climate. To help you understand the ins and outs of soil stabilization pricing, we’ve assembled this brief guide on the factors that have the greatest effect on total cost.

1. Road Usage

The first item to consider when determining the cost of soil stabilization is the intended use of your unpaved road. Depending on the expected intensity of traffic and road longevity, the project may require differing quantities and chemistries of soil stabilization product.

When assessing your road’s expected usage, it’s helpful to ask yourself: is this a rural road, a construction road, or a road that sees a lot of traffic on a regular basis? What types of vehicles will be using the road? Standard passenger vehicles will exert far less pressure on your road surface than heavy-duty industrial machines like haul trucks will. The heavier the traffic you expect your road to endure, the more stabilization it will require to keep it stable for years to come.

Some unpaved roads are created for temporary purposes, such as roads that lead into construction sites — these roads will not have to be built to last for several years, ultimately leading to lower costs. By contrast, if you expect your road to stay in as-constructed condition for years or even decades, be sure to factor maintenance costs into your total estimated price tag.

2. Soil Type

Although it seems intuitive once you hear about it, you may not have guessed that using your road’s on-site, native soils for stabilization could lead to cost savings between 30% and 40%. Of course, not all soils are suitable for stabilization, so this approach is not always possible. Roads that are composed purely of sand or clay, for example, may require you to ship in extra fill material from other sites, which can be a costly endeavor. Furthermore, because soil type will also determine which soil stabilization product chemistries are right for your road, soil type will affect the cost of your road in this respect (since products vary in price).

3. Weather

Weather is one of the most important considerations in the design of a soil stabilization product. If you expect extreme variations in weather over the course of the project, that can affect said project’s timeline and cost — and perhaps most crucially, you need to be prepared for precipitation. After all, water is one of the most damaging elements for any unpaved surface, as standing water can damage the road structure by creating potholes or washboarding. Furthermore, the moisture level of the soils within your road will determine which product chemistry and application rates will be most effective (among other factors), so you should be sure to account for any changes in rainfall or humidity.

4. Application

Will you apply the stabilizing products yourself, or will you pay a vendor to do it for you? It might be tempting to try to go it alone, but that may require you to purchase equipment, not to mention spend valuable time learning how to account for all the variables you just learned about in this guide. The success of a soil stabilization project hinges on the effective application of product, which in turn depends on the conditions of your site. To get the most bang for your buck, it might be a good idea to leave product application to the experts.

Decades of Experience in Unpaved Road Construction

At Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc., we’re proud to offer a wide range of soil stabilization products — but most importantly, we have the expertise and problem-solving skills necessary to implement even the most challenging programs. Midwest’s patented GreenPave® technology can be used for both unpaved roads and those that will eventually receive running surface treatments. And the results speak for themselves: many roads treated by Midwest have been in place for over 20 years.

If you want your road to always look and feel brand-new, reach out to Midwest today for a custom program that promises to meet your soil stabilization needs.

Frank is the sales unit manager of Midwest's road construction and natural paving markets.