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Extension > Environment > Trees and woodlands > Forest management practices fact sheet: Crossing options series > Expanded metal grating

Expanded metal grating

Best Management Practices (BMPs) can prevent or minimize the impact of forestry activities on rivers, lakes, streams, groundwater, wetlands, and visual quality.


Wetlands need protection during logging and other forest management activities. Heavy equipment crossing wetlands can damage their habitat, soils, and hydrology. Many types of temporary crossings can be built to protect wetlands.

Operators can build temporary crossings made from expanded metal grating. Expanded metal grating is a commercial product made from regular (not flattened) nongalvanized steel. The grating is placed on top of nonwoven geotextile.

Where used

Operators can use expanded metal grating crossings on shallow wetland or sandy soils. They also can be used on roads that don't have high spots (e.g., stumps or large rocks) where grades are less than 4 percent. Because skidding causes the grating to move, this option is best limited to hauling and forwarding.


Expanded metal grating crossings are usually built in sections that are about 4 feet by 10 feet. Operators install crossings by hand-placing the grating sections in each wheel path.

Geotextile is a fabric mat that allows water to drain through it. It supports material placed on top of it and makes removal of that material easier.

When installing an expanded metal grating crossing:


Expanded metal grating on geotextile


Expanded metal grating is lightweight, durable, inexpensive, and provides some traction. Operators don't need special equipment to install the grating.


Grating tends to bend to conform to any ruts that may develop. Equipment may be needed to remove grating if it becomes covered by soil.


Flip the grating occasionally to distribute wear. Remove and replace unusable bent sections.

University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Logger Education Program, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State University Extension, USDA Forest Service, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

WW-07011 1998


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