What Is Road Reclamation?

What Is Road Reclamation?

In Eco-Pave®, Soil Stabilization, Unpaved Roads by Frank Elswick

In rural and remote areas, building new roads or making extensive repairs is often a prohibitively expensive logistical nightmare; road reclamation eliminates those problems once and for all.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, opting for gravel roads over paved ones is frequently the most efficient option for communities and industrial facilities. For low-trafficked rural roads, asphalt is rarely worth the cost, and the same holds true for remote service roads — paving is a space- and resource-heavy process that can have costly environmental impacts.

Constructing the strongest and most durable unpaved roads comes with its own set of challenges, however, and they are often unique to the project at hand. By strategically using resources already in place at a given site, the process of road reclamation addresses those challenges, making it the perfect solution for any unpaved surface.

Fewer Resources, Fewer Costs

Most simply put, road reclamation is a method of road construction that uses soils already on site, reducing or altogether eliminating the need to haul in additional aggregate. This, unsurprisingly, lowers the overall cost of the project, but building an effective, long-lasting road without integrating stronger foreign materials is no small feat. Thus, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc.’s experts in the field will conduct a comprehensive survey of a given site, working with our clients every step of the way to develop an individualized plan.

Such collaboration is especially important because every project presents a unique set of requirements, expectations, and limitations. For example, one California-based client owned power lines that ran directly through a delicate sand dune ecosystem. Routine maintenance required heavy machinery to clear those power lines of debris and salt buildup, but because the dunes are protected by the state, constructing a traditional access road was out of the question.

Still, without some sort of stabilization, the all-wheel-drive vehicles would sink into the sand, hampering productivity and damaging the surrounding ecosystem. In this case, road reclamation represented the ideal solution.

How it Works

On its own, the sand was not stable enough to support traffic of any kind — let alone that of heavy AWD vehicles — as is typically the case with most onsite soils. In order to address this problem, the Midwest team implemented our innovative GreenPave™ paving system to strengthen the surface.

To begin, the road’s sub-base is stabilized with minimal excavation. Typically, this is where costly imported base or aggregate materials would be used. Instead, depending on the type of soil, a specific product — like Soil-Sement® or Eco-Pave® — is incorporated into the base to create a stabilized layer, reducing the cost of construction by up to 80%. After the proper number of applications, the road is compacted, giving it pavement-like strength.

In fact, the solution actually improves load-bearing capacity over time as traffic increases, further reducing maintenance costs. Equally important, all of Midwest’s road reclamation products are eco-friendly, which is why they are trusted in even the most delicate environments.

To put it simply, when your livelihood depends on strong unpaved roads, you can trust Midwest to get the job done.

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