Tough Cell® Cellular Confinement Systems
Cellular confinement and geocell technology has been around since 1975. Tough Cell, the ultimate refinement of the system, arrived in 2009 and has been in service around the world ever since.
Here is a selection of Paradox’s real-world installations, challenging applications and compelling case studies.
Residential Street Rehabilitation with Limited Municipal Budget
2016: Management and elected officials in the village of Ryley were frustrated with continually repairing their main road, damaged by traffic and the elements. The municipal budget was being consumed by high maintenance and frequent resurfacing.
The Village decided to rebuild completely, this time with an eye to lower construction cost, longevity and improved maintenance costs. Paradox and Tough Cell was selected as the solution.
- 10% initial construction budget savings on construction
- 20% less CO2 emissions
- 15% increase in support capacity
- 50% reduction in long term maintenance costs
Heavy Industrial Traffic – A Controlled Test
2012: Paradox was invited by the County of Leduc to help find a solution to premature failure of asphalt under constant truck traffic in a heavy industry park in Nisku. The long-term results were monitored by University of Alberta.
A conventional road building company constructed a stretch of roadway south of the railway tracks using CTB (cement treated base) for subgrade stabilization. In parallel, Paradox completed a similar length of road north of the tracks using Tough Cell for pavement reinforcement.
- The conventional CTB paving started showing signs of failure after 12 months which accelerated to the pavement breaking up in 24 months.
- After 36 months, the conventionally-built section had deteriorated enough that resurfacing was required.
- In contrast, the 500 metre stretch of Tough Cell was not showing signs of rutting, cracking or pavement failure.
Heavy Hauling Access Road over Muskeg & Saturated Soft Soils
2012: MEG Energy needed a primary access road built through swampland and muskeg.
While waiting for pre-construction planning and approvals, Paradox laid down a temporary three-kilometer stretch through sensitive wetlands as an interim measure.
- The temporary road had to endure a high volume of traffic, including 100-tonne rock trucks.
- It was produced using local materials, mostly sand.
- It was completed in 40 days.
- Shortly afterward, the client observed that this temporary road met or exceeded the specs for the primary road.
- “The temporary access road […] withstood weather conditions that some of [our] existing road networks could not.” – MEG Energy
- The primary road project was cancelled, saving millions.
Heavy Load Support – Log Storage & Handling Yard
2013: For years, Canfor’s yard workers at their Fort St. John mill struggled to function in extremely unstable work surface conditions. The estimated 100 truck loads per day had turned the yard and access road into a thick black mud. Disruptions in production were commonplace.
Established and costly methods of stabilizing the surface couldn’t survive a full work season. It was taking a toll on equipment, operating costs and patience.
Paradox designed and built a load support structure using innovative geotechnical methods.
- Paradox did a thorough engineering study and plan.
- Tough Cell was employed for the whole yard, about 25 acres, in three phases.
- Immediate improvements were notable: efficiency went up. Downtime was slashed. Mud bogs were quickly forgotten.
- Years later, the yard is still in service with very little maintenance.
- “[Tough Cell is]…proving to be the only affordable long-term solution.” – Canfor
Slope Stabilization – Residential Landslide Prevention
2013: In a residential area in Calgary, a park slope was eroding. There had been several collapsing incidents despite conventional stabilization attempts. The City hired Green Patch Environmental and Paradox to solve this problem permanently after terracing the site themselves.
- A small crew and minimal equipment was used. The job was done quickly without disrupting the neighborhood.
- Tough Cell slope retention techniques were applied to the 24° grade with supplied infill.
- The completed slope was top dressed and hydro-seeded. New vegetation was able to take hold and add to the new stability of the slope.
- In 2015, the City of Calgary declared the slope safe for recreational use.
Heavy Hauling Road Widening Project
2013: MEG Energy approached Paradox with a problem: they had outgrown a seven-kilometre length of an industrial access road. It was too narrow, too dangerous and proving difficult to navigate on with the added traffic.
While existing traffic proceeded uninterrupted, Paradox had to:
- Widen the road to a uniform ten metres.
- Perform construction in winter (minus 27°C average).
- Build bridges, embankments and drainage pipes as needed.
- Build the road to be usable all year round.
Paradox was prohibited from:
- Affecting the pipeline right of way running alongside.
- Disturbing the wetlands the road passes through.
Tough Cell ensured the work was completed on time and ahead of specification.
- Almost no subsequent maintenance was required for the first two years.
- Rut measurement averaged 30mm after 100,000 ESAL.
- “The road structure was firm and there was no sign of failure after two severe winters and constant use.” – MEG Energy