EnviroRail Changes Future of Railroad Maintenance with Mechanical Concrete®
Partnership of experience and innovation is sure to be a game-changer for sustainable green railroad construction
Omaha, Nebraska-based railroad services contractor EnviroRail recently took the first step in changing the future of railroad-maintenance construction by licensing Mechanical Concrete®, a concentrated aggregate confinement technology that rebuilds the railroad foundation.
Most road foundations, including railroad foundations, are made of compacted stone aggregate which weakens when wet. As pressure is applied, the wet aggregate particles spread out laterally resulting in loss of road structure, causing ruts, potholes and collapsed road edges. Railroads are particularly susceptible to this form of deterioration because of the high pressure loads typically transported by rail, EnviroRail CEO Jason Luce said.
“The foundation is everything,” Luce said. “When the subgrade breaks down, it can cause the track to be out of line and create “dips” in the line. It’s not only a maintenance issue, it’s a safety issue.
Samuel G. Bonasso, P.E., the inventor of Mechanical Concrete®, agrees. But to prevent the loss of road structure, he realized he needed to prevent aggregate lateral spread. “If you take a cylinder and fill it up with stone, it will harden up instantly, and that’s what happens with Mechanical Concrete,” he said.
In the Mechanical Concrete®’s patented process, the sidewalls of waste auto/truck tires are removed creating a durable rubber cylinder that is then filled with same size stone aggregate, preventing the majority of the aggregate from spreading laterally and creating a solid, sustainable and greener way to build foundations and road bases.
EnviroRail will use Mechanical Concrete®’s patented technology for track maintenance to support its major railroad customers across the United States. This partnership of experience and innovation is sure to be a game-changer for sustainable, green railroad construction and maintenance, Luce said. In demonstrations conducted by West Virginia University’s School of Engineering, Mechanical Concrete® proved three times stronger than typical crushed stone road foundations, requiring 75 percent less maintenance.
“Traditionally, as part of the civil engineering industry, railroads are at an “only-construct-or-repair-if-
© Scrap Tire News, March 2021