How to Deal with Construction Excavation and Fill Placement in Wet and Cold Climates

Rain and snow can bring substantial problems and delays to earthwork and construction projects.

That is why many excavations, fill transportation, and fill placement projects are put on hold during the winter months.

Shutting down operations until Spring isn’t always an option. Priority construction projects like road work and bridges may have to continue despite the ground and weather challenges. As weather patterns change due to climate change, heavy rainfall can take place during any season.

Dealing with Wet Soil and Ground Saturation

Water is heavy. Soil that is saturated with water can quickly triple or quadruple in weight. That means workers and machines have to exert more energy to excavate and move the same amount of soil (now mud.)

Excavating wet soil can take significant amounts of time to dry for adequate compaction. Soil compaction is an essential part of the construction process. It provides the necessary flat base, which provides crucial support for buildings, construction foundations, pavements, roads, and various other construction structures.

Plus, saturated soil doesn’t hold its position as well as dry soil, making excavation and trenching more hazardous. The ground can become more sticky and slippery, increasing the possibility of falls, machine malfunction, cave-ins, and trench walls collapsing.

Dump trucks that haul soil also have weight limitations. Heavier loads will require additional trips for fill transportation, which translates to increased costs.


Look for local service providers with fill transfer stations. They will usually have better tools, equipment, and facilities to transport, dry, and recycle fill material.

Soil drying and modification techniques can vary based on your project site and geographic location. They usually involve air, heat, or chemical drying techniques.

Check your local suppliers and government regulations for solutions in your area.

You can reduce your trucking fees by transporting or exchanging fill material with nearby project sites that need what you have.

Dealing with Ground Freeze

Ground freeze can run deep during the cold weather. The exact frost depth will vary depending on the specific soil type and condition, elevation, and other variables.

Cutting through thick swathes of frozen soil is a significant challenge even with heavy digging equipment like excavators.


Ground Thaw Machines may be the most practical solution in these circumstances. Once the hard crust of soil freeze is removed, dredging further down can quickly carry on.

Ground Thaw techniques may vary based on your geographic location. Contact one of your local Ground Thaw service providers for tips and suggestions. Make sure that the techniques or chemicals used are compliant with your local government rules and regulations.

Connect, Collaborate & Save

Working in wet and cold climates will require planning on your part.

Budget wisely and increase your contingency funds so you can handle any additional costs.

You can save time and money by collaborating with nearby project sites and solution providers using a platform like Fill Connect.

Start saving. Open a free account and list your services and project sites with Fill Connect.