Thanks to an innovative new product, first shown to producers at World of Concrete 2001, the days of wading through mud to rescue a stuck truck may be over.Alturna MATS are 1/2-inch-thick polyethylene ground mats designed to help cushion a wheel's imprint in areas of poor soil-bearing capacity. The mats not only distribute the load of a 60-ton workload but they also can be rolled up for hundreds of reuses.

Fleet managers can purchase the ground match in a size and style to match their trucks and common problems. There are five sizes, starting at 2 by 4 feet (weighing about 22 pounds) and going up to 4 by 8 feet (weighing less than 90 pounds). The standard model mat is cleated on both sides and has several holes drilled through it to let a mechanic insert rope handles or use a special hook to position the mat.

Unlike the commonly used plywood sheets that break up after a few passes, the manufacturer guarantees that the mats will not crack or break for 1 year. The manufacturer has tested the mats in both severe cold and extreme heat.According to Dave Koberg, DICA Marketing sales manager, one producer ordered 36 mats at the show last year. The producer planned to rent the mats to contractors.