Unpaved Road Maintenance

New Samitron Metrics Prove Effectiveness of Midwest’s Soil-Sement for Unpaved Road Maintenance

In Gravel Roads, Road & Surface Management, Roads, Soil-Sement®, Unpaved Roads by Steve Vitale

Another study, another success. Midwest’s Soil-Sement passed with flying colors after extensive testing was completed in Scottsdale, Arizona on five miles of unpaved roads, at five different sites. The test showed that unpaved roads, in fact, can work just as well as paved roads without the high installation cost to communities. And better yet, unpaved road maintenance can cost a small fraction of the investment required to maintain either paved roads or untreated unpaved roads.

Installed correctly with the proper stabilization system, unpaved roads are the perfect combination of durability and affordability. After installation, these stabilized roads can reap more savings with even cheaper unpaved road maintenance costs than those of their paved counterparts. The main reason unpaved roads are so easy to maintain is their composition. Unlike paved roads, unpaved roads are constructed entirely from natural materials like sediment, soil, and rocks. This also makes them eco-friendly. To learn more about the value of unpaved roads, you can read our article “A Fresh Perspective on the Benefits of Gravel/Unpaved Roads”.

This natural composition does come with an essential need for soil stabilization. Though their composition is eco-friendly, unpaved roads have looser surfaces than paved roads. Unpaved roads can begin deteriorating prematurely through erosion, which can be exacerbated by excess rainfall, heavy traffic, and improper construction. 

Don’t let your road erode by avoiding unpaved road maintenance

At Midwest, we’ve always been strong supporters of unpaved roads, and as a result, we developed the perfect treatment. Our product, Soil-Sement, a key product in our NaturalPave Soil Stabilization System, is a polymer emulsion for dust control, erosion prevention, and soil stabilization.

The beauty of Soil-Sement is its ability to pierce the road’s surface 4’’-8” inches below the surface, infusing deep into the road’s layers, binding surface dust particles together so they act with the hardness and strength of cement. But Soil-Sement doesn’t just provide roadway stamina. It also secures a road’s resilience by making it both dust free and resistant to water. 

Soil-Sement is meant to increase road performance, strength, and longevity, and we accomplish these results by taking soil stabilization down to a science. Midwest has always been proud to use science-based custom programs that allow us to suit the needs of any client, providing quality service with quality results. 

Our soil stabilization system effectiveness is proven… again.

Our latest test case consisted of two test days on five sections of a Soil-Sement treated unpaved road. The objective of the experiment was to show that Soil-Sement maintained its as-constructed properties long after installation. The measures for the experiment evaluated the road’s stiffness as a measure of its structural performance. As a frame of reference, the stiffer the road, the more heightened its performance.

On two days in May, the temperature was in the 80s with winds below 5 mph, sunny and dry with low traffic, a term the study defined as less than ten vehicles per hour. At each of the five sites, 16 Samitron measurements were made using moist sand as a result of the hard dry surface of the roads. 

The roads tested had received a Midwest Soil-Sement treatment three years prior. While experiencing some aging, researchers found that the mean stiffness for all five sites fell on the same logarithmic curve with a high degree of correlation towards increased stiffness (see figure 1 below). With this observation, the data signifies a regular growth in road strength between the sites at a stiffness, which Main Associates, a third-party test agency, evaluated as higher than other untreated sites. This uniformity was measured with a variance of ~3%, the highest coefficient standing at a 19.6% increase in stiffness from the samples.

Unpaved Road Maintenance Value Proven by Stiffness Gain Test of Soil-Sement
Soil-Sement Stiffness Gain Shows Value to Unpaved Road Maintenance

From the pattern indications, the Samitron measurements were able to quantify the added stiffness from Soil-Sement. It can be inferred by the study results that Soil-Sement offers exceptional control of native material, stabilization, and compaction. These three components are essential in evaluating unpaved road maintenance needs. 

Through this study, Midwest found that with Samitron measurements, an unpaved road can be tested to see if more stabilization is needed using empirical data, ending the age of simply estimating what may be required. 

More so than the use of metrics, the Scottsdale study also provided scientific proof in the effectiveness of Midwest’s Soil-Sement. Even three years after application, the Soil-Sement coating was still showing massive increases in road stiffness, signaling it as the perfect option for unpaved roads like this one in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Not just made with science, but backed by it

Midwest creates products with the power of science, allowing us to develop custom programs to suit your needs. When you look to Midwest for dust control and soil stabilization, we don’t just offer a product. We treat your site as a collaborative project where, together with clients, Midwest provides solutions that save time, money, and increase productivity. And once again, that dedication has been proven by the science of the Scottsdale study. 

If you’re looking for unpaved roads that last, and last… and last, trust a program that’s not just made with science, but backed by it. Your unpaved road maintenance budget will thank you for it. Contact Midwest today to see if you’re eligible for a trial in your community.