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 02-11-2004, 12:34 Post: 76641
kwschumm



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 Fixing potholes in gravel roads

We live on a long gravel county road that is used a lot by logging trucks and thus full of huge potholes. A couple of times a year the county comes out and spreads gravel on the road, but when they do they neither grade out the potholes or fill and compact them. They just dump gravel and spread it with a big grader. This fills the potholes alright, but they're always back within a day or two. So my question is, what is the best way to fix potholes in a gravel road? I'd like to educate myself a bit before I call the county to complain.






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 02-11-2004, 12:57 Post: 76644
Murf

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 Fixing potholes in gravel roads

Ken, potholes are strange things, roads develop something called 'pothole memory'. This is caused by the impact of the tire against the far edge of the pothole as the wheel drops into, and them bounces back out. If you do not remove this problem the pothole will NEVER go away.

There is only one way to get rid of a pothole, dig it out and re-grade and compact the fill to an adequate level.

Usually what is more important is to fix the road itself and also to educate the drivers using it. The best built road there is will be shredded if the people using cant drive properly. Likewise, I have seen some pretty mediocre roads last for years because they were well cared for.

We maintain a LOT of private gravel roads, currently about 200 miles of them. Our best salesmen are our own customers. We insist on certain remedial actions, and provide our customers with an annual "How to drive on a dirt road." instruction pamphlet. On average our customers see a decrease of between 25% and 50% in their annual maintenance budget after the first few years of 'learning curve'.

The basics are;
1) don't race, speed kills dirt roads,
2) slow down for curves & bends,
3) coast on slopes, accelerate BEFORE a hill, not ON IT, don't brake anymore than ABSOLUTELY necessary on downhills,
4) when the road is wet or sloppy keep traffic to a minimum,
5) use a binding agent to make the surface of the road stronger,
6) prioritize the problem spots and systematically fix them as time & money allows,
7) ensure proper drainage including ditches and culverts.

Best of luck.






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 02-11-2004, 13:09 Post: 76646
Murf

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 Fixing potholes in gravel roads

Ken, have a look at the article linked to below. It is an excellent basic look at dirt roads.

Best of luck.






Link:   Dirt Road Maintenance 

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 02-11-2004, 15:27 Post: 76658
Billy

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 Fixing potholes in gravel roads

Ken,

If this road continues to be used by log trucks, you'll just have to learn to live with it. The county isn't going to spend the money to build a dirt road, with a good base. Without a good base, you get potholes and rub-boards.






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 02-11-2004, 15:56 Post: 76660
Murf

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 Fixing potholes in gravel roads

I'd tackle the issue differently.

In most cases there is a 'trickle down' of road money. The State collects road taxes in the form of a fuel & license surtax. This money then flows down to the County and local level based on a formula which results in a dollar per mile figure. All roads must meet a certain minimum standard, usually call 'DOT spec.', to receive any subsidy, and the amount of subsidy varies according to how good a road it is. For example a 4 lane paved road gets far more subsidy than a 2 lane dirt road on a 'per mile' basis.

The key is the minimum specification. The spec. not only lays out the minumum standards for construction, but also the minimum for the ongoing MAINTENANCE of it.

It is NOT unheard of for certain 'low priority' roads to be neglected (sometimes intentionally) in favour of other roads. This is sometimes nothing more than the 'old boy network' at work. In the town where I live for instance, does not put weight restrictions on several already bad roads because of one farmer who operates a trucking company from his farm, load limits would mean that for several months each year he couldn't get any trucks in or out of his yard. The fact that the town roads super. is his brother-in-law, and the roads foreman's son-in-law works for the trucking company probably has nothing to do with it, wink, wink.

In other cases sudden traffic growth caused by rapid development or a big construction project nearby causes increased maintenance costs that the roads dept. has to find, borrow, or steal from another area.

If it is a long term problem try contacting the County aboout it, if you don't get anywhere, go to the State DOT people, they should quickly figure out the problem. In some cases the terms of a timber license require the lumber company to fix the roads or make payments towards the road budget.

Best of luck.






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 02-11-2004, 16:41 Post: 76666
kwschumm



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 Fixing potholes in gravel roads

Murf, thanks for all the good info and the link. Since it's a public road we don't have any control of how people drive on it, especially the logging trucks.

Billy, you're probably right about the log trucks. Those guys are NUTS the way they drive on this road. There's no posted speed limit so the effective limit is 55 mph. I figure a maximum safe speed is 30 or so but those log truck drivers do their best to hit 55 So Sad

There has to be some connection between the logging companies and the county. Somehow the county always manages to regravel the road one day before a new logging job starts, so the gravel only stays around for a week or so before disappearing.






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 02-11-2004, 16:56 Post: 76668
Chief



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 Fixing potholes in gravel roads

Ken, I am not sure how your local government is set up. Do you have a county district commisioner that represents your district in the county or something of a similar nature? I suggest you contact that individual and ask if the road can be upgraded or cared for better with some suggestions from you on how. If school buses use this dirt road, that is a REALLY good angle to approach the issue on from a child safety position. Get your neighbors to sign a petition requesting the upgrades/maintenance you would like to see and run it by your commissioner and/or ask to address the county board of commissioners with all of your neighors there as a show of interest and support. That is how I do it here. Politians don't like loose ends or cannons. ;o)

Just a thought that came to my mind.






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 02-11-2004, 17:59 Post: 76672
kwschumm



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 Fixing potholes in gravel roads

My only contacts so far have been with the Land Use people who do county road maintenance. I'll have to move up the ladder. Good idea on the school bus safety angle. I should really talk to one of the neighbors who just HAS to have an in with the county. After all, he built a new house on an unbuildable lot, was able to cut in his driveway without an access permit, and was able to get an occupancy permit without meeting forest stocking requirements. All this and not a single word said by the county when they were all over everyone else for the same issues.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Just For Fun Off Topic Forum

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