Sunbelt Rentals Excels at Providing Site Access in Environmentally-Sensitive Areas
Sunbelt Rentals is an industry leader in the design and installation of temporary roadway and work pad matting systems throughout the United States and Canada. In addition to providing customized solutions based on the needs of your project, our team also excels at providing site access in a variety of conditions, including environmentally sensitive areas such as bogs, marshes, and tidal basins.
Utility transmission projects often face many challenges, such as difficult terrain conditions, cultural sensitivity, waterways, and right-of-way issues. Environmental sensitivity plays a big role when considering and developing the most appropriate site access solution. The Atlantic City Electric Orchard to Lewis Transmission Reliability Project is a great example of this. Our team began providing comprehensive site access solutions in support of this project in November 2017. The project traverses approximately 41 miles through five counties.
During the permitting, planning, and execution phases of a project like this, various regulatory agencies are involved to ensure that sensitive areas, as well as threatened and endangered species, are protected throughout the course of work. For instance, the Cape-Atlantic Soil Conservation District regulates activities that result in soil disturbance and erosion in parts of the Orchard to Lewis project corridor. Sunbelt Rentals site access crews must work with environmental scientists to help manage impacts to the cultural and biological resources throughout the area and to ensure overall project compliance. More and more agencies now require composite matting instead of wood mats to reduce soil compaction and habitat degradation in areas where heavy machinery must operate.
During the permitting and planning phases of the Orchard to Lewis project, there were several threatened and endangered plant and animal species in the project corridor. This included the Barred Owl and the Pine Barrens Treefrog, as well as approximately two dozen populations across nine different protected plant species. One such plant is the Knieskern’s Beaked-Rush, which is a Federally-listed Threatened Plant Species.
Once the sensitive areas are investigated and delineated, qualified surveyors work to identify the areas where these species are located and exclusion fencing is installed, as a means of protection. This applies to more than nine locations on the Orchard to Lewis project where Sunbelt Rentals is scheduled to create temporary roadways and work pads using composite mats for foundation and line crews to work and operate safely and effectively. Other protective measures consist of seasonal restrictions on accessing certain areas, erosion and sedimentation control including perimeter barriers installed along the mats, and inspections that may range from periodic visits to full-time monitoring.
Our team is also installing QuickBridges® to ensure that heavy equipment and vehicles can cross creeks and other waterways easily and without disruption to local wildlife.
Efficient and quality mat installation is critical to maintaining the project’s timeline, compliance, and safety needs. Authorized impacts can be calculated to the thousandth of an acre, and penalties associated with non-compliance can be detrimental as they can result in fines and costly work delays.
Sunbelt Rentals ensures adherence to required matting areas by developing recommendations for additional matting needs where appropriate and providing a stable surface for equipment to work over and around. This protects our most sensitive resources while supporting construction and maintenance of critical infrastructure projects. This project, which is estimated to be complete by the end of May 2019, is using over 10,000 DURA-BASE® mats through a series of tactical repositions to serve the project’s phases.