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FORT BLISS HEAVY HAUL ROADS

FORT BLISS LOCATION AND ENVIRONMENT

Fort Bliss is the Army's second largest installation following the adjacent White Sands Missile Range, and the Army's second largest Maneuver Area for heavy armor training activities. Fort Bliss headquarters are located within the city limits of El Paso, Texas, with most of the training area and practice ranges located to the north in southern New Mexico. The area has an annual average of twenty days over 100°F and sixty nights below freezing. It has also experienced as much as two feet of snowfall in a single storm. While rainfall averages 9.4 inches per year, extremely heavy summer monsoonal thunderstorms can create severe flash flooding and have generated as much as 15 inches of rainfall in a single week. The area is subject to high winds and blowing dust for extended periods during the spring months. Fort Bliss has hundreds of miles of unpaved heavy haul roads, also known as tank trails, military supply routes, or MSR's. These roads service convoys of heavy military equipment including M1A2 Abrams Tanks, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and M-1070 Transporter units approaching their GCWR's of 243,400 pounds when moving Abrams Tanks around the base on heavy duty semi-trailers. The old rough running haul road system at Fort Bliss has historically taken its toll on the military equipment operating on these routes, the road maintenance budget and the environment.

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

Three contracts were recently awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through the MATOC program to remedy these problems on eight heavy haul road routes. The work includes raising the road profiles to improve drainage conditions, construction of concrete low water crossings and placement of culvert structures and construction of an unpaved road structural section capable of supporting the extremely heavy loads. These heavy haul roads are being constructed over more than one hundred miles of varying soil types and drainage conditions to support frequent heavy loading, even through episodes of extended heavy rainfall. On just one of the heavy haul road construction phases, the contractor reported 22 distinct soil types over the length of their project. The new Fort Bliss heavy haul roads support loads far heavier than those allowed on the Interstate Highway System through all the region's extreme weather conditions, and do so without the need for protective asphalt or concrete pavement surfaces.

BID OPTIONS PROVIDED TO CONTRACTORS

Faced with a limited repair budget but still with the need to stretch available funds to cover the reconstruction of as many miles as possible at Fort Bliss, the Army Corps of Engineers design staff gave bidding contractors two options. Contractors could provide bids based upon constructing the heavy haul roads with two layers of crushed aggregate, each layer being eight inches thick, or the second option specifying the EMC SQUARED Stabilizer product. The stabilized design required construction of a twelve inch layer of stabilized native soil covered by an eight inch layer of stabilized aggregate surface course material.

STABILIZED ROAD DESIGN SAVES BIG MONEY

Faced with the high cost of manufacturing crushed aggregate materials and long round trip trucking hauls, it is no surprise that contractors selected the stabilized design option for the construction of all three phases. The need for manufacturing over one million tons of crushed aggregate was eliminated (over 40,000 truck loads at 25 tons per load), along with the related long distance trucking hauls. Using an average of $20.00 per ton as the delivered cost for untreated crushed aggregate materials, for sake of cost estimating purposes, a $20 million dollar material requirement for these projects was eliminated as a direct result of implementing the use of an advanced product technology that could cost-effectively stabilize the wide variety of locally available soils. In comparison to the estimated construction budget and miles of heavy haul roads submitted in the original request for funding the haul road improvements, the stabilized design cut construction costs by approximately 25% and stretched the available $60 million budget out to over 100 miles of heavy haul roads.

SELECTION OF STABILIZATION TECHNOLOGY

The EMC SQUARED System stabilization technology from Soil Stabilization Products Company, Inc. (SSPCo) was specified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because of its historically proven capability to improve the strength and moisture resistance of aggregate materials and a wide variety of soil types ranging from sandy silts and silty sands to caliche and clay soils. Equally important in the selection of the EMC SQUARED Stabilizer product was the fact that it is a proven performer for over two decades in stabilizing select aggregate and soil materials for service as road running surfaces supporting frequent truck and heavy equipment traffic. Stabilized running surfaces are challenging applications that have not been cost-effectively addressed by earlier generation stabilizer products such as asphalt emulsions, foamed asphalts, cements, fly ash materials and lime products. SSPCo has worked closely with the Army Corps of Engineers and contractors to help them take advantage of the full range of benefits available from this innovative stabilization technology. As well demonstrated in the stabilized heavy haul roads at Fort Bliss, the EMC SQUARED System provides entirely new capabilities and opportunities for improving the performance of constructed aggregate and soil structures.

SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE

Aggregate trucking hauls and military equipment convoys used the stabilized subgrades and stabilized aggregate surfaces in all weather conditions during construction operations. Once construction of each heavy haul road route was completed, the intense level of traffic from convoys of track equipment, such as the Abrams M1A2 Tanks and Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, surprised even the Range Management staff at Fort Bliss. The surfaces of the stabilized heavy haul roads adjacent to state highways were treated with a dust control product during construction, as recommended by SSPCo, and are providing the most effective retention of rock materials in the running surface. SSPCo recommended that a dust control product be applied on all stabilized heavy haul road surfaces, but project managers made the decision to spend available funds on upgraded concrete low water crossings, rather than on dust control product for the rest of the new heavy haul road routes. The performance of the stabilized heavy haul roads without dust control treatment has also been excellent, even under the traffic of Abrams M1A2 Tanks (track equipment weighing almost 70 tons), but the light scattering of small rock on these haul road surfaces is evidence that the retention of fine particle materials in the stabilized surface is improved by application of the dust control product. It is clear in viewing all of these heavy haul roads that the stabilizer is effectively shedding water and maintaining stiff and solid running surfaces that are far superior to untreated aggregate surfaces. The only problem project and range managers are experiencing with the stabilized running surfaces placed by asphalt paving machines is enforcing speed limits for the trucking hauls and other traffic that are driving on these smooth running roads.

SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION

The innovative EMC SQUARED System stabilization technology is facilitating construction of better performing roads at far lower cost than possible with conventional road construction products. The reductions in the overall environmental impacts and the financial burdens on taxpayers are extraordinary. At over 100 miles in total length and millions of dollars in cost savings, this is a big green success story. Use of the stabilized heavy haul road design cut the requirement for crushed aggregate materials and the related trucking hauls in half and reduced overall fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions, greatly lessening the environmental impacts of the construction operations, and producing far more miles of upgraded roads with available funding.

FIELD AND LABORATORY EVALUATION

The results of field and laboratory engineering evaluations of the stabilized soil and aggregate materials are summarized in the EMC SQUARED TESTING section of the site. Note the effectiveness of the economical EMC SQUARED Stabilizer treatment, strengthening native soils to a performance level equivalent to crushed aggregate base rock materials. Even more interesting are the results of engineering tests conducted in a nationally recognized pavement materials testing laboratory to evaluate the performance of the stabilized aggregate surface course material and its relationship to Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA). While HMA is a viscoelastic material that weakens dramatically as temperatures increase, the stabilized aggregate retained consistent strength and demonstrated a high level of resistance to rutting and deformation in testing temperatures that include 130º F. These are excellent engineering properties for any layer in a pavement structural section. The consistent strength of the stabilized aggregate is ideal for worst case design requirements, such as Fort Bliss heavy haul roads where extremely heavy loads move at slow speeds during weather conditions ranging from below freezing to high temperatures and for other severe service applications such as mine haul roads, airport runway and taxiways, and pavement systems for port and intermodal facilities. The consistent strength of the stabilized aggregate is also an excellent match for viscoelastic HMA surface course materials that benefit from the support of strong flexible base course layers that retain their stability independent of changes in temperature and loading frequency.

 

Soil Stabilization Products, Inc.
PO Box 2779
Merced, CA 95344

Toll Free: (800) 523-9992
Phone:     (209) 383-3296

Fax: (209) 383-7849

Email: INFO@SSPCO.COM

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