Excerpt from the Construction chapter, “Operationally Speaking,” An Event Operations Guide

One of the largest expenses for any event would most likely be the construction of temporary roads. Unless your event takes place on asphalt or has a cart path network throughout the site, or a permanent bus unloading area, you will probably have to construct some kind of road system on site. This is not only necessary for access to important areas during the event, but also for the initial setup of facilities. For example, if there is a group of portopots in the middle of the course next to a concession, there would be no way to pump out the portopots due to the size and weight of the truck necessary to do the job.

The old adage of pay me now or pay me later comes into play. You can roll the dice that there will be no rain during the time you are setting up, or during the event, or during tear down. You can hope the ground will remain hard. But unless your event is of the size that you can set up in one day, have the event and tear it out the next, you can probably count on some rain during the process. Heavy equipment and soft ground do not mix well. The costs for repair after the event might be more than the roads.

It is not necessary for these roads to be concrete or asphalt. They may be composed of rock laid on top of a filter cloth fabric which can be removed after the event. Highway grade filter cloth is laid prior to spreading the rock to prevent the rock from being pushed into the ground when rolled with a compactor. If the rock is pushed into the ground, it is a nightmare to remove it from the ground. Nevertheless, it will need to be removed as you have to return the ground to the condition you found it.

Before roads are built behind the corporate tents, make sure the measurement from the tents to the road is correct and accurate. If it isn’t, you will have to come back later and move the road because the tents are sitting on it. Also, if you are putting roads over manholes, you will need to raise the covers to the height of the road for future access.

If the event is one that will be repeated in the same location for a number of years, you might want to consider asphalt. New materials come onto the market all the time so be on the lookout. There is a plastic mat system which shows a great deal of potential, but the costs are more than rock and less than asphalt at this time. That being said, there is less damage to the ground with the mat system. There will be some compression with the mats, but they are much easier to install and pull up than rock or asphalt.

This book contains information about what it takes to operate a major event. The information may be applied to any event, as all events contain the same elements. However, you may need to reduce the number of people in different areas for a small event such as security and parking personnel.