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How to Create a Temporary Road Using Mats

Kyle Schurman // 2021

Temporary road mats are an ideal material to have on hand for construction companies and other businesses that must work in remote areas, where a gravel or permanent road is not available. To create a temp road, just lay out multiple mats end to end, connecting them as required, to give large vehicles the stability they need to move safely and efficiently.

The temporary road mats give heavy equipment the access it needs to reach a remote area without tearing up the existing ground or risking becoming stuck, which would greatly delay the project. These thick mats provide a far more durable option for use at a construction site versus plywood, which becomes slick and splintered over time, creating a huge mess after the project finishes.

These mats vary quite a bit on the amount of weight they have, which can increase the complexity of the install. With a smaller, lightweight mat, a few people can move the new temporary road mats around and can place them into service by hand, whether it’s over a muddy field, a lawn, or a dirt track. Heavier mats likely will require the use of a forklift to move them into place.

Can You Install Lightweight Temporary Road Mats on an Acreage or a Construction Site?

One of the biggest benefits of temp road mats is the ability to be able to create a walkway or a vehicular roadway anywhere. However, if the mats are too heavy for someone to move by hand, they become a little less useful on an acreage or at a place where people don’t have heavy equipment around to line up the mats.

The GeoGrid Cellular Paving System is able to withstand up to 35 tons per square foot of vehicular weight, reinforcing the ground and stabilizing it for those moving across it. It also works to stabilize ground that is subject to the possibility of erosion.

Each piece measures 1.62 feet square, allowing a single person to interlock the tiles and create the roadway. After connecting the tiles, just fill the spaces in the grid with soil or decorative stones to finish off the road.



Another option people can install by hand is the Mud-Traks Super Lite Ground Protection Mat. This mat for sale measures 45 inches in width and 6 feet in length, and each unit weighs 58 pounds. (Other versions of this model measuring 32 inches in width and 8 feet in length are available too.) The 6-foot units should fit in the bed of a standard pickup truck, making it easy to move the mats around the jobsite. Lay them end to end to create the roadway.



The TrakMat Ground Cover Mat consists of polyethylene plastic, offering a coverage size of almost 4 by 8 feet per unit. With 78 pounds of weight per mat, a few people can work together to move these mats into place by hand, using the hand holes on the sides and ends of each mat.

The TrakMat unit can support loads up to 90 tons. It has a slightly flexible design, allowing it to mold to the slight undulations in the ground, giving vehicles the stability they need to travel safely in the area without becoming stuck.

How Do You Move Heavy Temporary Road Mats Into Place at the Jobsite?

For those who need maximum protection for the ground underneath the temporary road mats, look for the thickest possible mats, including the TuffTrak model. To install these heavy duty mats, which weigh several hundred pounds apiece, using a forklift will be the best solution, although some workers use hydraulic grabs to position the mats end to end or side to side. Then use spring steel straps with hex head bolts on the edges of each mat to securely connect it to an adjacent mat.

The TuffTrak XL Ground Protection Road Mat has about 88 square feet of coverage per mat and weighs 794 pounds. Each mat is 1-7/8 inches in thickness.



The TuffTrak XL Plus Heavy Duty Ground Protection Road Mat has a similar coverage size and also measures 1-7/8 inches in thickness. This style of mat weighs 655 pounds, which makes it a little easier to maneuver into place. It uses an overlap design, giving it additional strength to support vehicles and to protect the ground underneath.



Both TuffTrak versions of temporary road mats are non-conductive, making them a good choice for electrical transmission projects. This is a solid compression molded mat consisting of high density polyethylene, ensuring that punctures never happen.

The mats have nubbed texture on the surface to help the vehicles traveling across them to maintain a secure grip on the temp road, ensuring they won’t slip. Sometimes, before the vehicle’s tires or tracks reach the mats, they accumulate mud in the treads, which can lead to slipping issues.
For more on this topic please review our Ground Protection Mats product page.