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ACCEL: Spreadsheet-Based Cost Estimation for Forest Road Construction

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Abstract:

A computer program has been developed to aid forest engineers in the cost estimation of forest road construction activities. This new tool, called ACCEL, uses Visual Basic for Applications within Microsoft Excel to compute the costs of construction components using interactive sheets, automated tasks, and advanced computer routines. The user is guided through road construction components and prompted for cost data, earthwork quantities, survey information, and the conditions of the construction environment to estimate total construction cost. Road design elements and site characteristics are variables used to optimize earthwork allocation, improving on using the mass diagram method. The program also estimates clearing and grubbing areas, rock surfacing volumes, and culvert lengths. ACCEL was validated by comparing the results to those of RoadEng (by Softree), ensuring that formulas were input correctly and showing close agreement in results. This program was created in a recognizable format, i.e., Microsoft Excel, and builds on basic quantity and cost estimation techniques. ACCEL is intended to improve the decisionmaking process for experienced forestry practitioners in forest road construction regardless of region, company, or agency affiliation by accepting their inputs and performing the calculations for different route alternative or varying design specifications.

Keywords: earthwork optimization; forest roads; road cost modeling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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