Project Name: Wylie Civic Center, PaveGro Fire Lane
Location: 300 Country Club Road, Wylie, Texas 75098
Owner: The City of Wylie
Architect: Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture with Architexas
Landscape Architect: Newman, Jackson, Bieberstein, Inc.
General Contractor: Byrne Construction Services
The Story: Over 900 linear feet of PaveGro was installed at the Wylie Municipal Center for use as a fire lane.
Responding to the needs of a growing population that increased by 275% in the last decade, the City of Wylie, Texas answered the call in superb fashion. What began in December of 2008, resulted in a municipal complex of mammoth proportions including a 45,737-sq-ft city hall, a 47,159-sq-ft recreation center and a 43,934-sq-ft library. The project also features one of the largest porches in Texas, a 750 feet span along the back of the building.
Following in the footsteps of cities like Austin and Arlington, the City of Wylie chose TXI’s PaveGro for a turf fire lane at their newly completed municipal center. This soil mix consists of a specialty blend of expanded shale and a sandy clay loam lightly compacted over a 2” stone layer and a geogrid membrane. The concept was introduced to the city by a member of the design team from Newman, Jackson and Bieberstein, landscape architects in Dallas. The city consulted with Terracon Consultants and Halff Associates to design a mix that would support the bearing capacity of an 80,000 pound fire truck. In this case, a 6” soil mix over a 2” layer of 1’ limestone stone and geogrid was used. In all, approximately 21,600-sq-ft was installed at the civic center.
The process of creating a fire lane with this soil mix is straightforward and requires very little hand labor, thereby saving money. The subgrade is prepared to a 1-2% grade, scarified and proof rolled, and compacted to 95% standard proctor density at plus/minus 2% of optimum moisture. Concrete edging is installed to define the fire lane boundary and also to provide a stable edge for compaction. The geogrid is rolled out in sections and covered with a 2” layer of 1” limestone. This process continues until all the stone is added. The soil mix material is then dumped, bladed and compacted to a consistent 6” depth. Once the finish grade is established, the material is charged with water before sodding operations.
Selecting turf for the soil mix is an important consideration because a good root structure adds strength to the profile and increases the infiltration rate and environmental cleansing of the system. Look for turf with quick establishment characteristics, good spreading, and the ability to recover from normal wear and tear. Sod grown in sand versus clay is preferred because it increases the infiltration rate of the system. Light, frequent watering is recommended during grow-in until the roots become established and after the roots take hold in the profile, less frequent and deeper irrigation is recommended. Due to the porous nature of the medium, a slow release fertilizer is also a good choice. The best feature of the expanded shale soil mix is that it is a natural, environmentally friendly solution to fire lanes, temporary parking and special event areas. This system is also good for maintenance routes in parks, airports, golf courses and cemeteries where excessive turf wear is a problem.
Turf fire lanes like the one at the Wylie Civic Center are becoming more common because of the environmental benefits they produce and the number of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points that are awarded. Credits may be gained for stormwater management, reduction in the heat island effect, and the use of regionally manufactured materials.