Roadway built on water

Jan. 1, 2016

Lake Gaston is a hydroelectric reservoir in North Carolina and Virginia. It is a man-made lake, roughly 35 miles long, covering 20,000 acres and 350 miles of shoreline. Prior to the lake being formed, power line poles were installed in the area. The lake was then created and filled, and those same poles stood for 50 years, very much in need of replacement. Upgrading the 14 wooden towers to modern three-pole steel structures would improve the reliability of the electric system for the 150,000 customers in the area.

Lake Gaston has an average depth of 40 ft, with the section where the poles are located in being about 16 ft deep. A barge was used for the pole replacement, but the challenge of getting equipment from the road to the lake and the concrete to the new poles remained. The solution was Mabey.

Mabey determined that by building a temporary road using 3,600 composite DuraBase mats, workers could move equipment and supplies between the shore and the site. This required the Mabey team to install the mats over wetlands and out into the lake. The remaining mats were used to form a single-layer floating road over the lake, reaching out about 800 ft from shore. A pipe was laid on the floating platform, bringing concrete from a mixer on shore directly to the job site on the water. The system also functioned as a floating walkway for workers. Pole replacement was conducted in two main sections, and when work was ready to move to a different area, boats simply pulled the assembled floating platform across the lake to the new location.

Mabey DuraBase mats proved to be highly versatile products. The mats and the efficiency of the Mabey matting installation crew sped up installation of the new poles by at least a month.

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