We are heading towards summer and finally, after two years of the pandemic, people will be making a mass exodus to tourist resorts again. Those who choose the mountains (or the sea, for example, the Ligurian Riviera) will find themselves passing through more than one tunnel.
Italy is one of the countries in Europe with the largest number of road tunnels. As for the TERN (TRANS-EUROPEAN ROAD NETWORK), there are currently about 610 road tunnels in operation covering a total length of about 710 km. The total number of tunnels in operation on ANAS (National Autonomous Roads Corporation) roads is 1,235 km, covering a total length of approximately 755 km.
Especially in older tunnels, you may notice large damp patches running high up the inside walls, or dangerous water stagnation on the ground. So, let’s see what exactly happens and how to prevent the problem.
When building tunnels today, tried and tested systems and materials exist. However, the problem that still needs to be addressed is the hydro-geological aspect, which highlights two main problems: groundwater inflows and water seepage.
By groundwater inflows, we mean the sudden flow of water from walls, coming from an aquifer that finds a new outlet. So, after detecting it, it becomes a priority to plan adequate drainage methods.
Water seepage, instead, refers to the passage of water due to its inherent capillary action or to the force of gravity.
The consequences of groundwater inflows and water seepage can be seen if problems are not tackled, or rather prevented, correctly.
Water is a major threat to structures such as tunnels, since it reduces the life of concrete cladding, causing structural deterioration, endangering systems and posing a hazard to road safety.
What can be done about water?
The ideal solution is to design with suitable drainage systems, with studded membranes and drainage geocomposites.
Maxistud and HDD by TeMa Geo Solutions are HDPE studded membranes with high compressive strength: the former is a 20 mm thermoformed membrane, whereas the latter is a 10 mm membrane bonded to a non-woven geotextile, available in different weights and increasing compressive strengths.
Drainage geocomposites such as Q-Drain ZW5 60 20P TG, 5mm thick with a monofilament core, and a nonwoven fabric can also be used.
The choice of product and the thickness depends on conditions regarding groundwater inflow and the relative risk of water seepage.
The safety of road infrastructures is the main goal, and maintenance work – whether preventive or supplementary – is systematic.
Road surfaces withstand heavy traffic loads and atmospheric changes with significant variations in temperature. Constant maintenance is therefore required in order to ensure even surfaces and the stability of structural elements.
Let’s look at the main factors involved in building new roads or maintaining roads.
Controlling surface erosion
Erosion is largely due to freeze/thaw cycles, which make asphalt less elastic and therefore more prone to internal voids. Such voids allow water to penetrate into underlying layers, gradually eroding the structure.
In addition, heavy traffic loads, especially heavy vehicles, cause deformation of the surface layers: this results in water penetration, which “softens” the structure and makes it less resistant.
The water capillarity, i.e. the ability of liquids to move in micro-spaces even against the force of gravity, is a rather complex concept closely monitored in the construction industry. With the help of pressures exerted on lower layers, water rises upwards, dragging the finer components of materials with it and causing deformation.
It is therefore necessary to provide a drainage geocomposite, a three-dimensional membrane obtained by bonding two or more synthetic components in order to convey fluids to the exterior and prevent them from rising.
You can discover all our solutions here.
It may sometimes be necessary to install reinforcement grids, especially if there is a more or less pronounced slope that would cause a road shoulder to slide downwards.
The choice of the most suitable type of reinforcement, and therefore also of the position of the geogrid in the layering, clearly depends on the problems to be faced i.e. reinforcing the surface area to limit the spread of cracks to underlying layers, improving the load-bearing capacity and reducing the stresses transmitted to lower layers, or providing a separation (and anti-contamination) function.
Discover all our solutions here.
During intervention works, softer soils may be encountered, which may be subject to instability or even collapse in the early stages of intervention works. Even if this should not jeopardise the feasibility of the works, there is still the risk that the minimum legal safety requirements will be compromised.
Also in this case, geosynthetic products are the solution to the problem, as they absorb tensions at least until the intervention work achieves structural stability.
Discover the solutions in the X-Grid line here.
Let’s take a step back: nowadays, synthetic turf fields are the most cost-effective solution for football clubs, for both the first team and the youth sector. So, the construction of a synthetic system is an opportunity not to be missed. It is therefore important to construct a synthetic field that is ideal for the type of use and level of play.
TeMa staff can assist in the construction – especially in the design phase – to define the characteristics of the synthetic turf field. We are very familiar with the different layers it is made of (sub-base, turf and sand, rubber or natural infill) and its various features recommended by experience depending on different climatic conditions. The initial step is also important for determining the procedure that any club – in almost all cases through the municipality, the owner – needs to follow in order to construct the most suitable synthetic field in terms of type and frequency of use.
The secret is…
…drainage. Having a quality sub-base is even more important than the surface turf. This is where the experience of TeMa steps in with the company’s drainage solutions, developed on 4 continents. They guarantee the timely disposal of water in the quickest possible time and the use of the field even in severe weather conditions.
Drainage of a synthetic turf field
On synthetic turf fields water drainage is horizontal: after stabilising and levelling the surface, an impermeable membrane is applied that prevents liquids from penetrating into the ground below, conveying them to the channels on the long sides of the field.
This prevents water from stagnating on the surface of the field, avoiding puddles and the removal of surface material.
Natural or synthetic turf for the field?
A natural grass surface requires more maintenance and higher costs: it needs to be cut at regular intervals, treated, fertilised and watered. Moreover, weather conditions may affect the use of the field.
By contrast, synthetic turf is more resistant to weather conditions. It can also be used intensively all the time, regardless of the season and requires much less maintenance: it only needs to be “combed” regularly to revitalise the turf.
In addition to the (much) shorter construction time, a factor that tends to make synthetic turf preferable to natural turf is its permeable capacity: the control over water filtration is clearly superior and the sub-base is designed to drain excess water during heavy rainfall and/or store it. This makes it easier to maintain favourable conditions for both the game and the durability of the field, while also protecting the health of the players.
What makes the field so even and linear?
Drainage geocomposites provide maximum performance.
Q-Drain ZW8 Football consists of a monofilament core bonded with two non-woven fabrics, to which a PE membrane can be added if required.
Q-Drain ZW8 WP Football, ideal for horizontal drainage applications, consists of a monofilament core bonded with a non-woven fabric and a waterproofing film.
To support these products, we recommend T-Kanal Football, a cement channel for perimeter drainage that contains a special drainage membrane. The system is made complete with a grid, fixings and T-Tape, for joining the rolls during installation.
An environmental reappraisal
Over the centuries the relationship between man and the environment has undergone considerable tensions. Rural development and the impetus in building have undoubtedly disrupted certain landscapes, reducing natural spaces to accommodate new urban and agricultural areas. This type of intervention work has led to a crisis in the ecosystem, imposing re-evaluation of the fragile balance between the economy and the environment.
This is the socio-cultural background that has led to global re-assessment aimed at defining programmes and new territorial management formulas. It has been the driving force behind TeMa Geo Solutions, the TeMa business unit dedicated to environmental intervention works. These are aimed at protecting land and offering the opportunity to operate using eco-compatible solutions and products that integrate into the environment without compromising its appearance or safety.
Sustainable development according to TeMa
Nestled at the foot of the hills declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the TeMa headquarters could not help but consistently correspond to this desire for sustainability, widespread in this area for some years now. But how has it contributed? By using raw materials responsibly, with 100% natural solutions and intervention procedures with low environmental impact.
As a concrete example, TeMa addresses the problem of surface erosion of the soil by meteoric rain with Ecovernet® in natural fibres such as jute or Ecovermat® in natural fibres such as straw and coconut – or in biodegradable cellulose fibre. Installing products in this range allows intervention works to be carried out immediately, even in situations with difficult access for on-site vehicles. For such types of intervention works, total integration with the soil is achieved, guaranteeing lasting results over time.
Green intervention works
An interesting new development introduced by our technicians is the use of lightweight materials that feature reduced encumbrance, which not only affects the cost of the work but also speeds up the time required on-site. When building drainage systems, for example, TeMa does not rely on that range of inert materials from quarries that need to be extracted and transported. The company uses drainage geocomposites instead, such as Q-Drain, thus avoiding any waste of energy and CO₂ emissions into the air, thus ensuring quick installation.
These are just a few examples to show the potential that the field of environmental engineering has to offer:
- Reduction in costs while maintaining the effectiveness of intervention works
- Sustainability of the actions taken
- Protection and safeguarding of the soil
- Promotion of natural raw materials
To fully understand our philosophy, browse through the new catalogue dedicated to the protection of vineyards, which are the natural and cultural heritage of our lands and an identifying feature of our history. Inside it, you will find products and solutions for responsible and eco-compatible actions.