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Forums > Active Threads > Home and Garden > Garden and Landscape

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Carldarnell
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 91 Taylorsville Ky
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2005-12-30          122018


Is there a good book on road construction and maintenance that meant for the average person and not an engineer? I have taken it on myself to maintain our subdivision road and my driveway and parking area. The road is one mile long with a steep hill at the entrance. I enjoy doing it but I need to know more about the right way to do it.
Murf, I hope you offer some info on this please.

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2005-12-30          122021


Here's a link to some good information on gravel roads. ....


Link:   Gravel roads

 
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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 677 central Maine
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2005-12-31          122036


I think it would be tough to find a book on your particular
climate and soil conditions.
I would suggest a local road commisioner. one with a least
twenty years behind him.
One thing I think would apply anywhere is that water is the enemy. Get it off and keep it away as fast as possible.
In other words, crown the surface and ditch it to keep it as dry as possible.
Good luck! ....

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Carldarnell
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 91 Taylorsville Ky
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2005-12-31          122046


kwschumm, thank you for the site on roads. I just looked through it and that is what I needed and I put in in my favorites for refference. I looked for books but they were mostly engineering books and not geared to the subdivision/farm road crowd like me.
Grinder, I have thought about going to the highway dept shop and talking to them. I think I will do that this coming week.
When I got my tractor last summer I started doing the road. I know some about crowning the road and ditching it. Nothing has been done to it except grading and gravel since the subdivision was started in 4/1998. It was a gravel farm road then and still is because all the lots are zoned ag2. I have started ditching my property first. I didn't want to mess up the neighbors land untill I knew what I was doing. The main reason for the tractor was to keep the road up. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-01-02          122133


Carl, the site Ken linked to is good, but IMHO, it is a little more important to have a working knowledge first. If you don't understand the what, why, where and how, you will just be wandering aimlessly in the dark. You don't need a 4 year college program, just the basics.

One of the best examples I've found is a US DOT publication, linked to below. While it is aimed at 'real' roads, and for people who do it for a living, it is a really good crash course for anybody. Well worth the time to read it.

IMHO, the other critical item is the equipment. Without the right stuff it can be a long and tiresome job. With the good stuff, it's a joy to do.

I would suggest a good box blade is the first choice. Next is a coin toss between a good landscape rake or rear blade, hopefully both having a double offset hitch. They are for pulling the shoulders back without driving in the ditch to do so.

Ideally you would have a hydraulically adjustable, tow-able box blade with independently adjustable gauge wheels or pull-behind grader attachment. Either would be a serious investment to the average homeowner.

As always, questions are always free, LOL.

Best of luck. ....


Link:   Gravel Road Maintenance Manual

 
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Carldarnell
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 91 Taylorsville Ky
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2006-01-02          122160


Murf, thank you very much. After 4 or 5 tries I was able to download the Adobe file. For some reason it did not want to download. It has 104 pages but I may print it because I don't enjoy reading that much at the 'puter. I printed the site kwshumm listed. I found I was doing the right things for the most part. I have a NT254 tractor with a FEL and a box grader, grader blade and ditch bucket to do the work with. Our road is a very old (about 1900) farm road and was not put in right and I have a lot of changes to make to get the drainage right. Most of what I did was common sense things which turned out right. The first 2/3 of the road is very old and has a fair base. The new 1/3 is below the surrounding ground and needs to be built up and ditched. I have crowned the older part but the new part will not crown easy. We need a lot more gravel, what is called here dense grade. it is 3/4" to dust and packs like concrete. I have been ditching my property to learn how to do it and found I was doing it right according to the booklet kwshumm posted. I just need to finish the job when it gets dry enough. We have a steep hill at the entrance and I have been digging big rocks out of the road to get it gradeable. I enjoy the road work and that is why I bought the tractor. What is a landscape rake? I am going to build a drag with railroad spikes in it to loosen up the gravel better than the box grader. I plan to make it just wide enough for one lane so I don't mess up the crown of the road. I will make it so I can adjust the angle of the spikes from front to rear to dig or just smooth the gravel. Most the time I use the grader blade backwards to smooth the road after I loosen it and crown it. I will read the DOT publication you posted to get more ideas. I plan to use calcium chloride after we gravel it next summer like you suggested in another post.
Thanks, Carl ....

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Carldarnell
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Posts: 91 Taylorsville Ky
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2006-01-03          122175


That DOT publication should be mandatory reading for anyone doing gravel drives or roads. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-01-03          122177


Carl, glad I could be of some assistance. It's amazing how much there is to know about something as simple as a gravel roadway isn't it?

A landscape rake is basically a set of large curved spring tines, about the same size, shape & format as a rear blade, but instead of a mouldboard, it has flat spring tines about 1/2" wide and spaced closely together. It is very good at surface finishing and will usually roll all the larger stones of the surface for you. It is also handy for doing things like raking all the leaves off in the spring, or clearing light snow falls, without chewing up the road surface.

Best of luck. ....

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dsg
Join Date: Jun 1999
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2006-01-03          122191


The best tool I have for gravel road maintenance is my rake with Gage wheels and drop down blade. It's like an all in one tool.

David ....

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Carldarnell
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 91 Taylorsville Ky
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2006-01-04          122264


I will have to look into that. It sounds like it may be worth having one. Thanks ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2006-01-05          122272


Carl,

This is not a thought you asked for and one I hate to mention but, you should find out what liability you are taking on doing work on the road. Sadly, you may find the risk is so great you can not afford to help your neighbor.

Let someone have a wreck on the road and get hurt and you may find a court holds you responsible. Even if you are cleared the cost can wipe out many people.

If you have a farm or business liability type policy you may find it will help protect you. I can tell you to BE SURE YOU ARE SAFE.

Now why is it important for clear thinking level headed people to serve on juries?

Again, it saddens me that such should be a concern but here is would be a major one.

kt
....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2006-01-05          122274


Kenneth has brought up a good point.

As a 'professional' I am insured up the wazoo, but the average homeowner is not, usually. Generally speaking a 'volunteer' is pretty hard to make the scape-goat unless there is a very blatant case of carelessness or stupidity, someone getting paid is held to a much hire standard of professionalism.

The simple solution, if not already accomplished, would be for the residents assoc. to pay for a liability policy, naming the 'volunteer'. We do periodic (3 or 4 times a year only) work on sevral private roads, they have a liability policy which takes the burden off any one person. If the road crosses several pieces of private property this may already be covered in the basic homeowners policy.

Better safe than very, very sorry.

Best of luck. ....

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091755
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2006-01-05          122291


Carldarnell
I have a 1/4 mile gravel driveway. First I must state I do not believe in 'crowning' driveways/roads - it causes a mess when plowing with a snowplow or blowing with a snowblower. I make sure my gravel base is high enough and wide enough to allow for proper grading thruout the spring,summer and fall. I use primarily my backblade with weights added to get a perfectly level surface(from right to left as you are driving). I occasionally will turn the backblade(angle) to move gravel to one side or the other.
I 'pull' the backblade backwards and set the blade as vertical as possible. It works great. And once you get it level, it doesnt take much time each year to keep it that way. Crowning is good for 'offroad' or logging roads, but I cant see it for a personal driveway/roadway.
My personal opinion.
doc ....

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Murf
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2006-01-05          122297


Doc, if the ground is very flat, and the driveway well maintained there is little need for a crown.

I do not however understand how it can create a mess though, please explain it a little.

The problem is that inevitably wheel tracks will appear in a travelled road, then water starts to run in those tracks, ALONG the road, instead of sideways & OFF of the road. This will cause erosion.

I have seen good-sized sections of roadway completely washed away by surprisingly light rains, especially right around the time of snow melt in the spring.

Best of luck. ....

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dsg
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2006-01-05          122313


The last time I talked with a dentist about a crown he tried to get big bucks out of my wallet:) That dentist probably didn't understand anything about gravel road construction either. If you put down the right material (1" or 2" minus with enough binder) having a crown is important for the water run off, The more the water can Run Off the better. Usually there is no need for a huge crown, just enough for good water flow ( 3 to 5 degrees).
IMHO.

David ....

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Carldarnell
Join Date: Dec 2005
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2006-01-05          122319


re: liability. We are in a private subdivision with one road one mile long and cul-de-sac at the end. The only traffic is owners and visitors. I have a mirror on my tractor and watch for animals, people, cars, etc. I will ask my insurance co. about it but the only hot spot is the entrance with the highway.

re: crowning. I am convinced that you need a slight crown to the road. Our road is terrible as it has never been taken care of. It has a concave surface and the water runs down the road in many places. I have tried to crown it and where I could it stays dry. If the road were higher than the surrounding land you may not have to crown it but traffic would put tire tracks in it and the water would run down those. If it is crowned slightly you would have to dress it less often. I haven't crowned my driveway yet but I blade it often. My driveway is a problem because it goes down a hill and turns to the parking area in front of the underground home and shop/garage. Runoff is a problem, so I tried to direct the water to the inside of the drive so it goes to the parking lot and then slows down and goes over the hill. I get some slight erosion on the road but I can blade it out. I am thinking about a ditch on the inside with a small catch basin at the bottom of the hill and a drain under the road to take the water over the hill. I have been experimenting on my property so I don't botch the meighbors land up and make them mad. I am working on the subdivision road from our home to the highway on both sides because it's ok with the owners. That is the down hill part and needs a lot of work. We are supposed to have a home owners association but we have never had a meeting. No one pays me and I would rather keep it that way. We all get along and I want it to stay that way. When it comes time to work the road on the top of the hill if the owners back there don't want me to do it I won't do it. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2006-01-06          122324


Carl,

It is not when you are working where I think you run a liabilty risk. If some wreck, regardless of reason, they will look for all pocket books. If you grade the road or work on the road, do not be surprised if you are sued. The grade was not correct, the ditch too deep, the ditch not deep enough to handle the water, the road too narrow, the wash out was your fault.

I don't know nor am predicting it will ever happen. But I can tell you it does. I hope it never does. But that is much of what courts have become.
....

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Carldarnell
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Posts: 91 Taylorsville Ky
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2006-01-06          122327


Ahhh, I see what you mean now. Yes, I will talk to my insurance person about that aspect and see what they say. It may be that I will need a rider of some sort to cover me on my homeowners policy. It's a shame that we have the lawsuit system we do. It would be nice if you had to prove intent or neglect to sue. ....

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
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2006-01-06          122328


If you don't charge for your services, your homeowner's policy should cover. I have a $2,000,000.00 umbrella policy in addition to my homeowners stuff to carry the burden. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2006-01-06          122332


Pete, I believe most homeowners policys only cover what you do on YOUR property, it doesn't cover you for liability beyond your property line.

"Shotgun Litigation" has unfortunately become almost the norm today. Sue everybody you can think of and let a judge & jury sort it out later.

We were named in suit a few years back. A guest at a cottage drove off the road and down the embankment and hit a tree, and in so doing wrote off his new Marcedes. He found through the cottagers association website / newsletter that my company had been hired to advise the assoc. on road maintenance, and so I must be liable because I didn't tell them to cut down the tree, or put up a guard rail.

The cottager the guy was visiting was so pithed at this jerk, the husband of a friend of his wifes, he contacted me to help with the defence. His affidavit that the guy was on his way to buy more booze because his hoist had cut him off pretty much ended the matter. ;->

Best of luck. ....

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091755
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2006-01-06          122333


Murf
My snowplow on my pickup, my backblade on my tractor, and my front snowblower on my tractor are flat. They do not conform to 'crowned' gravel. It pushs it to the side and in the case of the snowblower, it picks up gravel. I realize and often have adjust the skids due to not having enough frost in the driveway, but I dont have any problem with level gravel if it is has enough frost. I must say mine is pretty flat and straight, so if one has curves and hills, it could be different.
doc ....

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091755
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2006-01-06          122335


dsq
Your comment about dentists is quite ignorant. I happen to put in several driveways every year up here in N.Wisc., so dont give me crap about not knowing anything about gravel road construction. I also do logging roads and understand the complete difference in what each requires. When you have at least 5 years of experience in doing these things, then I will listen to you - till then - keep your dumb ass comments to yourself. I was only trying to give the guy the guy some of my personal experience and some help.
I also plow and snowblow snow in the winter and the crowned driveways just do not clean out as well as those that are completely flat. You are certainly entitled to your opinions, but dont 'diss' someone else who does things differently and gets great success. That is what this forum is about - giving some advice or help, not to bash.
doc ....

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dsg
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2006-01-06          122338


Doc, I apologize for the (diss) No Harm intended. I've been playing with gravel since the mid 1970's , and it was IMHO.

David ....

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grinder
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2006-01-08          122398


Does your subdivision have a name, recorded at the registry,
collect common area dues,File a non-profit with the IRS,?
I would notify my insurance company in writing and get an
answer in writing. My wife and I built our first house in a
recorded sub-division about ten houses on the lake. I plowed the road
as I was in the plowing business. We also had a common beach area
which brought up the subject of liability at one of our assc. meetings.
Upon consulting with a lawyer it was recommended that anyone we hired
(plowing, grading,cutting,etc had to provide proof of Commercial insurance.
Murf hit the nail right on the head "shotgun litigation".

It may be tough to prove any of the homeowners liable, but
your property(clear Title) is clouded while any potential claims wait to get to court. Here in Maine I would dare say that would be 2-4 yrs.
This is how it was explained to me by my "liar" I mean Lawyer. He is in the process of Incorporating my small construction business and taking my name off the deed.
It is a sad state of affairs but we are where we are.
CYA(call your atty.)( cover your A
....

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Carldarnell
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2006-01-08          122430


Aw geez Grinder, more to deal with now huh. Its's a shame an old geezer like me can't do a little research, get on his tractor and do a good deed for himself and his neighbors without some jerk suing over something that was probably his own fault. Our subdivision is called Riverview subdivision and is registered with the county. It is supposed to have an owners association but we never have meetings. One of us gathered money from each of us and had rock put on the road twice and that's all that has been done. My wife does research for a lawyer so I will try to get some free advise from him. Man, this is taking all the fun out of the road work. Bummer.

Hey doc, I understand the flat road idea and use it on my driveway because of the way the land lays. It's important to look way beyond the road when deciding how to grade it. I watch it when it is dry and I watch it when it rains. The water flow tells a lot if you just look and it tells me this road needs a lot of work. ....

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091755
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2006-01-08          122440


Carldarnell
I didnt realize you were doing a whole road for a subdivision. Do you have curb and gutter or ditches. That would be a big job and should have a little crown due to the width. The driveways I do are rarely more that 10 feet or so wide - so, flat works well.
Sounds to me something the developer should have had laid out prior to selling lots. That is required here in Wisc.
doc ....

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Carldarnell
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2006-01-08          122445


doc, there are no gutters or curbs but some ditches. It's all gravel about one mile long with a cul-de-sac at the end. The first 2/3 mile is about 100 years old and went to an old brick home that was pushed into a pond that was on my property. The last 1/3 mile is not very good at all. It is lower than the surrounding ground and turns into a river. The part I live on is the old part and I have ditched my side some and will work both sides if I can do it without fear of lawsuit. I have box graded the whole road and tried to get it to some decent condition. There are a couple of long posts on the first and second pages that describe it some more. I sure hope I can work this out as I enjoy doing the road work. ....

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grinder
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2006-01-09          122447


Carl
I can relate to your road situation. If the base is not
mud, at some point I realized it is easier to spend your time and money adding gravel.
This will also create ditches.
You can't make a silk purse... ....

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kthompson
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2006-01-09          122451


Carl,

The liability issue should not be a killer (no pun) but the subdivision should be willing to pay those cost if you are willing to do the work you are. It may cost very little to protect up front compared to the cost if somethign does happen.

As to someone elses comment on dentist...come now..are not dentist like any other professional? Some are very good and some are well...only after the money regardless of the damage they cause to the other person?

Over the years one of my office's neighbors have been two dentist. One very reasonable in cost and treatment. The other totally opposite.

kt
....

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Murf
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2006-01-09          122456


Doc, a flat blade or blower is n o problem on a propery crowned driveway or laneway.

You make one pass on each side of the crown with the cutting edge flush to the ground on the 'slope' portion. There is rarely ever a little strip of snow left on the top of the crown.

Bear in mind also, to be effective on flat(ish) land a crown doesn't need to be any more than about a 2-3% slope from the centerline out. On a 12' wide lane this only amounts to a drop of about 1.5" or 2" per side, that's really not going to cause you any grief.

Best of luck. ....

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Carldarnell
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2006-01-11          122621


Talked to the lawyer today and he said that the only way I would have a problem is if I did something that created a hazard. Such as a ditch across the road or causing water to run over the road or making a ditch to deep. He suggested that we organize a home owners committee and get them to approve me doing the road work. He didn't say it but I think by doing that the liability is spread over all of us that way. I have been wanting to organize us anyway so now is the time. I will also check on insurance. He said he didn't think there would be a problem as long as I used correct road building procedures. ....

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kthompson
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2006-01-12          122624


Carl,
That is good.
kt ....

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