In August 2010 after over 18 months of trying to repair failing roads with traditional construction methods in rural Wetzel County, WV Chesapeake Energy decided to do something creative and green. On Brock Ridge Road near Wileyville, WV they began using Mechanical Concrete® ; an emerging construction technology that delivers a heavy duty road base while remaining permeable to rain and ground water.
According to civil engineer, Samuel G. Bonasso, President of ReinforcedAggregated Company (REAGCO) of Morgantown, WV, the inventor of Mechanical Concrete® , “Early last summer I began hearing Marcellus Shale drillers faced significant challenges with the rural roads in WV, PA, NY and OH. I also knew Chesapeake was facing this same problem in Wetzel County. So I contacted Scott Rotruck with Chesapeake, who put me in touch with their engineers in Oklahoma. After several communications with Chesapeake people they decided to put Mechanical Concrete® to work in Wetzel County. Road shoulders that don’t wash into the ditch sounded pretty good to them.”
Chesapeake through its gas field service provider, Select Energy Services, hasbeen repairing and improving Brock Ridge Road in areas were full-depth penetration base construction methods have failed. Ken Parsons of Select Energy Services, Vienna,WV, is overseeing the work. On Brock Ridge Road Mechanical Concrete® is being used to strengthen and stabilize shoulders and soft spots, to widen narrow road sections and to stabilize ditch walls. According to Chesapeake’s Steven Mossor, “We needed something that could take the rains and still support the loads that our trucks put on these roads. The rains would just soften the stabilized base and we’d get pot holes. We were faced with repairing the same problems over and over. Mechanical Concrete® has made a difference. ”
Mechanical Concrete® uses a cylinder to confine the stone road-base. The cylinder is made from a used auto tire by removing both of its sidewalls. Tire-derivedcylinders are a strong, economical and green product that creates a virtually indestructible cell when filled with limestone or other approved road building aggregate materials. This reuse of waste tires complies with WVDEP Waste Tire Management Rules as a beneficial use. The resulting Mechanical Concrete® road base, made with an 8” to 10” thickness of stone, can withstand the volume and weight of stone, water, and fracking truck traffic from Marcellus Shale drilling operations and still remain permeable to the rain and ground water.
Mechanical Concrete® has been in R & D with lab and field testing since 2005. A test road segment was constructed in 2006 on Morgan’s Run Road in Doddridge County by the WV Division of Highways under District 4 Bridgeport. Based on the superior performance of the Doddridge test road, WVDOH Materials Division granted project approval to Mechanical Concrete® technology. District 6 in Moundsville, WV gave its approval for Chesapeake to use Mechanical Concrete® in Wetzel County. It has been
used recently by WVDOH, District 4 as part of a technology assessment to stabilize highway shoulders on WV 279 in Bridgeport.
Mechanical Concrete® was discovered by Samuel G. Bonasso, career consulting civil engineer and former WV Secretary of Transportation. He was granted a US patent on the technology. Bonasso said, “Mechanical Concrete® is a new way to hold stone particles together. It just keeps surprising me with its strength, durability and effectiveness. Mechanical Concrete® can strengthen these rural roads to withstand the Marcellus Shale truck loads and volumes and virtually eliminates base maintenance.
Remember these roads were designed for hay wagons and cars and an occasional truck. Without some strengthening, they just can’t handle heavy, industrial loads.”