Sand road, Algeria


Courtesy of Presto Geosystems

Both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Desert Storm forces found the solution with the Geoweb Cellular Confinement System. By utilizing the principle of soil confinement to enhance soil strength, the Geoweb Cellular Confinement System turns sand into a load supporting composite structure. This method of building sand roads was well established through a U.S. military exercise known as JLOTSII (Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore) conducted at Fort Story, Virginia by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station. This military exercise required the construction of sand roads using the Geoweb system. Thousands of traffic cycles were applied to the Geoweb sand road by 100 rubber tired military vehicles of various wheel loads. 


This method of building roads from existing sand was recently used by an American oil company when they needed to build roads through the Algerian Sahara Desert. Road construction in any desert can be a formidable task particularly if the site is remote. The oil company wanted to access four drilling sites which were located 800 KM south of the Mediterranean Sea coast and 160 KM from the nearest village. Transporting both construction equipment and suitable building materials would be difficult and expensive. Asphalt roads were unacceptable because of the high costs associated with mobilization to these remote locations and local rates of installation. And, in the desert sand, rubber tired vehicles became bogged since the sand alone offered little support. Considering the task, the oil company decided to build a test road with the sand filled Geoweb system. A dozer leveled the sand to prepare the roadbase. A five man labor crew then expanded each 8’ x 20’ x 8” Geoweb section and held them in position by shoveling sand into several perimeter cells. Adjoining Geoweb sections were connected together using hog rings and hand pliers. A front-end loader then filled the open cells of the Geoweb system with the desert sand. The loader immediately used the infilled sections as a platform to fill adjoining sections. Rubber tired construction equipment and trucks were used to compact the sand infill. Installation time was kept to a minimum using these procedures.

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