Texas A&M Takes New Approach to Lot Repair Work
By June Broughton
Lot 61, centrally located on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, is a prime example of blending green initiatives with new technology in construction in order to provide an enhanced parking area, shaded by more than 73 majestic live oak trees.
The parking lot had been plagued with structural problems, including potholes and cracking. As a result, moisture was seeping into the subgrade. While the moisture has been an extra source of water for the live oaks, it has caused problems for customers using the lot.
To repair the lot and save the existing trees, Clint Willis, Transportation Services Manager for Parking Facilities Projects and Maintenance at the university, worked with Kimley-Horn and Associates to come up with a plan.
“A total redesign for the lot was required, including changes in ingress and egress in order to save the trees,” Willis said.
The new plan called for the drip line around each tree to be increased from 10 feet to 30 feet. This tripling of the drip line area allows for greater protection of the trees and additional water absorption.
In addition to the improvements in overall design, a new product in parking lot construction – known as Tensar TriAx geogrid – provides an alternative to the historic use of lime stabilization. While the lime process can cause damage to tree roots, this new process, used in Lot 61, protects the root system, while providing a fabric-like structure between the subgrade and limestone base.
Another added feature of the Lot 61 redesign is a pedestrian walkway, which will connect the existing passageway to the future one, a project currently underway by the university.
Also, more than 150 new lighting structures, using the new campus standard Gardco CosmoPolis bulbs, have been added to the lot.
While there is a 10% loss of the parking spaces in the enhanced lot, Transportation Services officials say they are pleased with the immeasurable gain in the aesthetics that Lot 61 will continue to provide the campus community for many years to come.
June Broughton is Marketing and Communications Manager for Transportation Services at Texas A&M University.
Article Abstract from October, 2010