Building High-Performance Roads With Clay

Cypher EnvironmentalNews

Clay is abundant in many parts of the world and causes roads to require a lot of costly maintenance. During inevitable rainfall, clay swells and loses its strength properties and contracts when it dries, which results in subgrade failures and other surface issues causing frequent and costly maintenance requirements.

Cypher Environmental developed EarthZyme as a solution to solve this infrastructure issue.

Roads treated with EarthZyme yield an increase in CBR (strength) and density, yet maintain a certain degree of self-healing properties, which makes it a viable long term stabilization solution. 

Whether you are building a new road or maintaining an old one, treating your road with EarthZyme will reduce the swell potential of clay and increase the density and CBR of your road materials. Because of the added binding properties of the clay after treatment, you will also get less dust.

EarthZyme doesn’t destroy the elasticity or the beneficial properties of the clay — it enhances them. If a crack happens, water and compaction can heal it again. Sometimes, just rain and traffic will help keep the road in a better condition, but if maintenance is required, a simple grader and water truck are all that’s needed. 

Road Maintenance

The general solution for problem roads is to bring in more gravel to stabilize the road. For roads with high in-situ clay content, the gravel eventually sinks into the clay or gets whipped off into the ditch. Consequently, you have to add more gravel every year or two.

A much more effective option is introducing EarthZyme to stabilize the clay at a fraction of the cost of using aggregates. 

When you compare a gravel road to an EarthZyme treated road your grading frequency reduces dramatically and your dust control is almost eliminated — you wouldn’t need water or other dust control products on the road and your long-term operating costs go significantly down.

Building a New Road

 Typically, roads are built with gravel that has to be crushed, hauled, and laid. Incorporating EarthZyme into your road-building plan allows for a significant portion of what is typically gravel, to be lower cost clay-based materials. 

One kilometer of a standard secondary road can require as little as 40L of EarthZyme — that can fit in the trunk of your car! EarthZyme is applied at a rate of one liter of product to 33 cubic meters of compacted material. The alternative is adding truckloads of gravel, plus the additional cost of logistics, materials, people, and equipment.

Cement is a binder, and once the bond is broken it can’t be mended. The self-healing properties of EarthZyme treated roads are what make it a viable long term solution, at a fraction of the cost.  

Real-Life Example:

The RM of Cornwallis has roads treated with EarthZyme that have been documented by Brandon University. Currie’s Landing is one of them and was a problem road with heavy traffic in the summer due to several gravel quarries being located at the end of the road. Currie’s Landing needed to be watered 2-3 times per day, graded twice per week, and had chlorides applied for dust control every two weeks.

Since switching to EarthZyme, they have eliminated the need to water the road and only need to grade the road once per year. 

Treating that one road has saved the municipality forty thousand dollars in annual watering costs alone, not to mention the savings in grading and other maintenance requirements. This means that the resources typically allocated to maintaining Curries Landing can now be leveraged elsewhere, expanding the Municipality’s ability to invest in maintaining other roads or investing in other social programs.

If you have more questions, contact us today with your road-building questions.