Thinking ahead for road rehabilitation in wetlands

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Pierre-Olivier Jean and Jacques Gagnon

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Constructing safe and durable access roads within peat harvest sites is crucial for both logistical reasons and fire risk management. These access roads may, however, impede water flows and leave undesirable topographical attributes to a restored peat harvest site. Premier Tech Horticulture has developed an operational framework into which road restoration planning is integrated from construction to decommissioning. Roads are constructed using non-merchantable timber from the newly developed site to create a buoyant layer of corduroy onto which a layer of clay and gravel is added. The corduroy layer must be thick enough to support heavy machinery and requires the right density to alleviate the need for a geotextile membrane to hold the layer of clay and gravel. This proven road design allows a passive flow of water on both sides without requiring culverts, and the absence of geotextile greatly reduces rehabilitation costs. Upon rehabilitation, the whole road constituents are inverted so that the mineral layer and the corduroy are buried under freshly exposed peat. Road construction and maintenance techniques will be presented, as well as a road rehabilitation pilot project initiated in 2018 in Athabasca, (AB, Canada) where a Peat Inversion Technique (PIT) was adapted to suit a depleted peat harvest site.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program