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Advice Needed - Gravel Driveway Construction

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MacDaddy
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 95 Western NY
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2004-05-20          86454


I am in the process of purchasing a property where the house will be placed 1600’ off the main road. I intend to install a 10'w gravel/stone driveway, but would like to know what people recommend for the cross-sectional design… ie: how deep should the box be, how much gravel, how much stone, fabric placement... etc. The soil is mostly clay, and is moderately well drained. (Firm in the summer…. softer in the spring). Secondly, roughly how long would it take an operator to complete this project assuming there is no clearing required and the slope is gentle. At this point, im just trying to get a handle on the costs involved in installation. Any advice would be much appreciated. Please be specific on type of stone or gravel you recommend. Thanks!!

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Advice Needed - Gravel Driveway Construction

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2004-05-21          86529


There are allot of variables in making the calculations. Some contractors can cut corners others won't, so you may see a broad price range. Some are hungrier than others. I'm not a professional by any means. That is one long driveway and you better have deep pockets.

First of all, you will need to set grade. That means you need to figure the height of the driveway and you will want it to gently slope at the sides so the rain/snow washes off for drainage. Generally you would have this done with a Cat to plow out and even the grade and establish the drives shape and geometry, particularly if you have curves or a wider spot in between for cars to meet. Someone needs to stake this out for location, width and depth. You will want to fill this with some nice sand and pack it down with a street roller. You will then want to fill the remaining with a limestone mix something like zone 4. You should plan to spread this about 8" thick loose so it can compact down to 6" when the roller goes over it. Depending upon your soil, you may also want about 6" of sand. The sand will compact also. The excess black dirt that the dozer pushed out can be graded back in for the gentle slope along the sides. 1 yard of stone equals 1 1/2 tons. One yard is 27 cubic feet. So for a 10' wide driveway x 6" deep, a yard will go 5.4'. For a 1600' driveway you would need atleast 296 yards of sand. For a 10' wide driveway x 8" deep, a yard will go 4.05' For a 1600' driveway you would need atleast 395 yards of stonemix.

The price of the product depends on your location with regard to the source. The more you get per trip, the cheaper it is. If you have a good access road and a big place for them to turn around, you could get a gravel train to come in. The lead hauls about 27 ton and the pup about 23 tons. That whole rig is big and long(i.e. about 60') and needs lots of room to maneuver. The fifty ton of stone is about 33 yards. That's allot of stone and allot of trips. If you don't have allot of room, you will just get the lead with 27 ton per trip. That is still a big truck. Smaller dump trucks usually are about 15 ton. The weight of all that requires a good road and driveway entrance. Stonemix usually goes for $12.00 to $15.00 per ton delivered if it is about 10 to 15 miles away. Sand is cheaper and also varies with location and availability.

I have no clue as to contractor pricing but know you have a big project ahead that requires big equipment. After it is packed in and in place you will need to fill some spots and may want to use a finer stone later for dressing. You may be able to cut corners on thicknesses depending upon the driveway use and soil conditions. I wouldn't think that you need any barrier. That would slow drainage. To cut corners, you can investigate the use of crushed asphalt as your base and top it with limestone mix (commonly called crushed stone or stonecrete). This stuff has an aggregate of fines that hardens and compacts with pressure and moisture over time to get hard something like concrete. In the early spring it does soften. From allot of traffic the stone will separate and you will need to topdress for appearance. I'd plan on putting a nice turn around someplace in the design that is out of the way that someone can dump a load of stone later for top dressing. ....

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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 677 central Maine
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2004-05-23          86626


I assume you get snow where you are,therefore I would make it a min. of 15' travel surface,for snow removal and passing.
An 18-24 in. base of good clean sharp gravel(not stone)
for a base should be sufficent. I would use a 6" minus
product.(all stone bigger than 6" screened out. Frost will
pick up anything bigger to the surface.
Then topcoat with 2-3 inches of 1-2" minus or reclaimed asphalt. Loose stone on the surface will not freeze solid
and is a pain to plow or blow. Reclaimed asphalt doesn't
mud up and heads you in the right direction for paving down the road. Also it is easily regraded year to year. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2004-05-23          86632


Depends on the soil, drainage and traffic it'll carry. I'd check with neighbours to get an idea of what works. Could be as simple as removing the topsoil and bringing the grade up to surface plus crown with pit run.

Pit run with crowns plus mild ditching is what works around here for private drives except where the drainage is poor or grades steep enough to cause erosion. Two years ago I re-graded the slope to get more of the yard to drain down the drive to the highway and added another tandem load of pit run. I finally got my tractor work in gear after a wet spring and noticed that the drive is nicely compacted without dips and bumps. I don't think I'll touch it this year except some ditching cleaning. The drive does carry single axle truck traffic for oil delivery and the weight doesn't dint the compacted surface. ....

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MIFarmin
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 34 Michigan
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2004-05-30          87307


I had to improve the two track to my property to build my house last fall; $16,000 worth. The county spec's were grub, grade, and gravel; 28 ft wide cleared, with 12 inches sand and 6 inches gravel 12 ft wide. I had 2000 running ft. Grubbing was tearing out trees and stumps. That was half the cost. You will save a lot not doing that. A large backhoe would dig a few scoops around the stump and then push the tree over, using the weight of the tree to pull the stump loose. I followed him with a chain saw and cut the stump loose and he pushed it to the side. A dozer was then used to grade the road to a nice even flow, no dips and small hills taken down a bit. Where I live it was all sand, wow! Saved about $5000. The gravel was about $8000. including the dozer to spread it, which was the best way to go. He got a nice crown in the center to shed water. In a few water problem spots we plowed out a small catch basin next to the road. Our cars packed it down just fine. Four other neighbors on the road enjoyed the fix up. The first few months I graded it with my JD and box blade. Now its staying smooth and solid. A good road gravel will go a long way; some clay in it helps for packing. In front of the garage I used Dolomite. It packs like cement, but spread it thin, it doesn't go a long way. One more thing to consider; another attachment I treasure is my snowplow blade for my JD, since it's up to us to keep the road plowed in the Michigan winter! ....

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HuckMeat
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 121 Colorado
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2004-06-04          87766


I just had my driveway done - The first 1000 feet were pretty gentle slopes, with 2 culverts and build up in the crossings of the draws where the culverts are. The last 650 feet are in boulder strewn foothills, and took some work.

I had a minimum 12' wide road cut, and needed some blasting (in the boulder area) and my excavator, also my neighbor, charged me almost $15000, plus another $8k for putting down 7" of pit run on it. This included compaction, etc before the final grading and pit run. Even before pit run, I ran 20+ cement trucks over it without rutting - A tribute to the dirt work, since the exsisting road leading to my drivway didn't fair as well.

My geography tends to be expensive, but I did get a pretty good deal. Other excavators were charing about $1 per square foot of road space, excluding pit run. ....

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rpelleschi
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 56 Spotsylvania, Va
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2004-11-25          101003


Hi, I am putting in a drivway and read your old post. Could you explain "pit run with crowns"? I have an old loader and would like to do the job myself. The road will be about 800' so I am trying to do a lot myself and keep the cost down.
Thanks
Randy ....

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Advice Needed - Gravel Driveway Construction

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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 677 central Maine
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2004-11-26          101052


Maine definition: Pit Run or Bank Run,is in other words "as is"out of the gravel pit bank. Not run through a srceen.
Crown in the road refers to the finish grade, leaving the middle higher than the edge to shed water and reduce potholes,and mud. Like alot of things we build, water is the enemy and proper site prep.,subgrade, base material,surface material, drainage and elevations are critical to a road that will last.
It all depends on the site,as to what's needed.
good luck. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2004-11-26          101115


I agree with all the other posts, but would add that using the geo-fabric is a wise choice. Half of our 1000' road was done with fabric and the results are astounding. We had over 1,250 40-yd gravel trains delivering clay backfill for the adjoining 13 acre property for 6 months straight. The half that didn't have the fabric sank 6" - 8"---the wet clay under and along the road liquefies and literally oozes out and up along the roadway effectively creating a reverse ditch (the road being the ditch). After spreading another 800 ton of stone the road is almost back to where it was, and the oozing hasn't stopped. ....

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MacDaddy
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 95 Western NY
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2004-11-29          101242


Thanks to everyone for all the advice. I have completed the driveway and am quite satisfied w/ the results. The total length is 1800 ft. I increased the width to 12’ and added some passing areas. The contractor boxed-out 12 to 18 inches, placed geotextile fabric in the box and backfilled with 15 – 20” of “bank run” (as is from the bank – not screened). The composition was very good with a good mixture of larger stones and fines. The total material quantity was 2300 ton. at $6.25/t including trucking. This equates to about 115 truckloads of material, which helped a lot with compaction. Each truck hauled about 19 – 24 tons. The material was then “tracked-in” with a dozer. I also added two culvert crossings where it was necessary to divert runoff. After the material was placed, it was further compacted with a vibratory roller. The roller did a good job, but Mother Nature and time do the most effective packing. Two weeks and a few rainfalls after the drive was completed, it really hardened-up. It was markedly firmer after a few weeks than it was the day the contractor left. At some point in the future, I plan to add a couple of inches if #1 stone as a wearing course. With all materials and labor, I paid about $11.90/running ft., and it took seven full days to complete. Thanks again for all of you who helped in my decision making. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-11-29          101247


Glad everything worked out well.

Do yourself a favour though, before it gets too beaten up start pouring on the CaCl heavy, it will really help to lock it down and make it solid.

You may also want to look into tar & chip for the surface once it is well packed and stable. For a private roadway of that size it is not expensive and will keep the surface in very good condition for a long time.

Best of luck. ....

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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 677 central Maine
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2004-11-29          101259


Another option, not sure it is available to you ? But a common practice here is to use recycled asphalt or brown pack.
They (PIKE INDUSTRIES) mix fine gravel with the asphalt they remove from resurfacing jobs and sell it. It is used for a base before paving driveways or as a finished surface.
Packs like cement but, can easily be regraded year to year.
The gravel mixture keeps the old asphalt from clumping together. I have used it many times with great results. The stone surface could create problems with the snow removal.
Merely an observation.
....

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rpelleschi
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 56 Spotsylvania, Va
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2004-11-30          101287


grinder, who or what kind of company would sell the old asphalt? ....

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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 677 central Maine
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2004-12-01          101356


Asphalt plants do in this area. When they resurface some of the roads, they bring in this huge asphalt rototiller and grind it up first. Most of the time they use it right there for a base. But they also remove it back to the plant in some instances? Depends on the roads needs I quess? Makes
a super driveway surface short of paving. We pay around $180.00 - 200.00 per 12-14 yard load. I think they call it 13 ton. I find one load will do about 100' 10-12 ' wide 2-3 " thick.
Pike industries. here in central Me. Check out there web site and beyond roads .com
Check your yellow pages for asphalt plants. Make sure it has some gravel of some type mixed, or you will get straight asphalt and it will turn to large solid chunks
after driving on it. ....

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rpelleschi
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 56 Spotsylvania, Va
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2004-12-06          101680


Thanks for all the help gentlemen. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Advice Needed - Gravel Driveway Construction

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rpelleschi
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 56 Spotsylvania, Va
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2004-12-06          101681


murf, what is CaCl? ....

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Woodie
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 105 Michigan lower
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2004-12-07          101790


For what its worth- in my area(MI) they sell recycled ground up concrete for subbase and topping for driveways. From the one drive I seen, once it gets a bit of traffic packing it, its as tuff as poured. Most drives in my area get the 22a road gravel (claytype sand and gravel) 6-12" thk depend on subgrade. I had some 21AA gravel and stone dust left from some projects so I started an 'experiment' a short driveway to my barn-laid the gravel and thin layerd the stone dust on top-so far it's holding up real good no wheel 'ruts'. ....

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rpelleschi
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 56 Spotsylvania, Va
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2004-12-09          101943


I will need to educate myself as to whats available in my area as far as a good road base material, and also try to figure out what the nieghbors have done. Although a few of their roads are not in very good shape. I also would like mine to be hard, or well compacted, not loose gravel like others I have been on. Is that just a matter of time, or is it more a factor of how its built, and what materials are used? Thanks again ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-12-09          101953


Sorry for the delay replying.

CaCl is the chemical symbol for Calcium Chloride.

It is commonly used for things like accelerating concrete curing times, as well as an ice melter.

It is the most common, because it's the cheapest, chemical they apply, either as a liquid or as pellets, to dirt roads to keep the dust down and bind the surface.

The biggest mistake I see people make when doing new road construction is using the wrong material in the wrong spot. The material commonly called 'pit run' or 'bank run' which is a mixture of sand and gravel, usually rounded stones, is a great thing to use as a base, to build up the ground to make drainage. The problem is it doesn't stand up well to vehicle travel, it keeps moving, tires can chew it up badly, even just rolling straight over it. For the top layers you want something with a fairly small particle size and sharp, irregular corners that will lock together and really bind up. This is what makes the difference between a hard, long-lasting surface and the bumpy rutted surface that needs constant maintenance.

Unless you've got REALLY good drainage try to avoid anything with clay or silt in it, it tends to absorb and retain water. In an area subject to freeze & thaw cycles this can lead to a spongey mess caused by the frost heaving.

Best of luck. ....

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1288 Wisconsin
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2004-12-09          101962


Murph
I have started my own gravel yard.LOL Every so often I get a few loads delivered (when I get a few extra bucks)as to keep up with the costs. It may sound foolish but what a difference it will make in the future on out of pocket expenses. I learned the hard way what you were talking about. After adding pit run to the drive twice in 3 years I have started a crushed road gravel pile. Where I have already put it down I see a difference already. (I have not had to regrade it since) As time goes on I will eventually have the whole drive finished but untill then I just keep buying a few loads evry couple of months. One of my pics has the start of the piles in the background and since then have increased dramatically.
Good advice you have gave everyone! ....

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MacDaddy
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 95 Western NY
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2004-12-09          101965


When I apply the wearing course, I plan to use a #1-stone. I was planning to spread this myself w/ a basic loader and letting it compact under normal use. Is this sufficient, or should it be rolled? ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2004-12-09          101981


Generally speaking the better your start, the better your finish will be.

You will be able to get any competent dump truck driver to do a lot of the 'spreading' for you. The chains at the back of the box are to stop the tailgate from opening beyond a certain point. Any driver with much experience will be able to lay down a layer of material the width of the box at any desired depth AMAZINGLY well. They know how fast to drive with what opening to obtain a 2" layer, every time.

If the drivers are as good as my drivers are they can even overlap two passes, one per side, down the centerline for you and create the crown at the same time as they spread the material for the roadway.

Between the weight of the trucks and the equipment doing the work you will obtain pretty decent compaction from just the work being done itself.

Best of luck.
....

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