Top three cost-saving benefits of building roads with Tough Cell®

Jan 20, 2022

When it comes to designing transportation infrastructure, only some engineering firms proactively seek out new roadbuilding technologies. Instead, many choose to stick to conventional roadbuilding methods – a decision that isn’t necessarily in your company’s best interest.

In 2012, engineering firm Stratum Logics worked with Paradox Access Solutions Inc., Stratum’s sister company, to revolutionize the way roads are built. Together, we sourced the industry’s best technology and became the sole Canadian distributor of Tough Cell®: a durable, sustainable, high-performance geocell structured into a 3D honeycomb formation that maintains its dimensional stability in a wide variation of temperatures (tested from –60°C to +60°C), under dynamic and cyclic loadings, and is highly resistant to polymeric creep.

Tough Cell technology allows optimization according to performance requirements for each specific project, thus maximizing compatibility. This means your road, pad, slope, ditch, or foundation will have an optimized, engineered solution that is guaranteed superior to other alternatives… all while potentially reducing project costs by as much as 50%.

Municipal road under construction using Tough Cell geosynthetics.

Herein, we explore three of these benefits and the potential cost savings for your company.

1. Aggregates

Because Tough Cell requires up to 50% fewer aggregate materials compared to conventional roadbuilding methods, Tough Cell is your golden ticket to big project savings.

Unlike many conventional roadbuilding techniques, Tough Cell provides the ability to incorporate locally-available, inferior granular materials for infill, as well as recycled granular material such as recycled concrete or RAP (reclaimed asphalt pavement).

The math here is straightforward – the less aggregate you use, the less you pay. The added bonus? Your project will require less transportation of goods and useless equipment, so you’re not only reducing your project costs – you’re significantly reducing your carbon footprint, too!

Additional reading: Research indicates the use of Tough Cell in roadbuilding contributes to 10% saving on initial project costs and 20% saving in CO2emission reduction.

2. Labour

The manhour efficiencies of Tough Cell are twofold. First of all, less time is needed to haul aggregates since you’re using fewer materials (and – oftentimes – native infill material can be used with Tough Cell, effectively eliminating hauling time altogether).

Furthermore, using Tough Cell technology to reinforce your roads requires less compaction and machine time compared to traditional methods, reducing the manhours needed to get your access road up and running.

Municipal road being built using Tough Cell geotextile.

3. Maintenance

The expense of building a road doesn’t end with the initial construction. Every road requires ongoing maintenance in order to continue providing safe, reliable access for its users.

Although maintenance costs can’t be completely eliminated, they can be minimized. In fact, roads built with Tough Cell have lifespans that last as long as four times that of roads built using conventional methods. Evidence also shows considerably less tire wear and tear in mining operations and fewer road bans in areas susceptible to frost-heave as the season’s change.

How is this possible? Research shows that Tough Cell distributes applied loads over a much wider area of the subgrade compared to planar products (such as geotextiles and geogrids), thereby reducing the stresses at the subgrade level and improving the overall performance of the surface in question. show

Simply put – using Tough Cell to build your roads translates to direct, long-term savings in operation and maintenance budgets compared to conventional roadbuilding methods.


Tough Cell’s unique combination of characteristics (summarized below) all lead it to be one of the industry’s leading cost-effective road building solutions:

  • The ability to use local infills
  • Reduced transportation costs due to Tough Cell’s 3D confinement and soil reinforcement properties
  • Long-term durability and exceptionally low maintenance needs
  • Fast installation with local work crews and all-weather installation
  • Versatile project adaptation according to specific needs
Gravel access road built with Tough Cell geosynthetics.

Our Tough Cell designs have served Alberta’s energy industry well, and many other industries are now reaping the benefits of Tough Cell CCS applications, too, including public civil infrastructure, mining, forestry, airports, sea ports, railways, municipalities, wind turbine bases, solar installations, and hydroelectric structures, among others.

From access roads to residential streets, site preparation to slope stabilization, load distribution to rail repair, and everything in between – Tough Cell is a cost-effective solid ground solution for projects large and small.

To learn more about how Tough Cell can provide safe, reliable, affordable access for your next project, visit our website or contact our Tough Cell specialist today.

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