Many residents in Calhoun County travel on gravel roads. Depending upon the time of year, the roads can become a challenge to the motorist. The Calhoun County Road Department (CCRD) has a gravel road program that minimizes the “ups and downs” for motorists and wear and tear on vehicles.
The goal of the gravel road program is to provide services to the rural roads within Calhoun County to keep them conditioned for public transportation and emergency vehicles.
Gravel Road Basics:
The key to maintaining a gravel road in good condition is effective drainage. Drainage is accomplished by constructing a “crowned” cross section. Because of this design, motorists may feel like they are “falling off the road” because the center of the road is several inches higher than the shoulder. Normally, a gravel road will be compacted and without large depressions or potholes.
Typical Gravel Road Section:
Above the edges of the gravel road is a “shoulder” area, just like on a paved road. The shoulder of the road provides a semi-hard surface that slopes downward to a drainage ditch. The shoulder is an area where the motorist may maintain control, if necessary. This area will be graded; however, it is less compacted.
Ditches and culverts are maintained so that the water drains downgrade to the nearest stream or river.
Gravel road maintenance includes the following services:
- Grading and Shaping: Gravel roads are graded in the early spring and fall. “Rutted” areas may require additional gravel. Some roads may need to be reconditioned due to the deterioration caused by mid-season rain. There may be seasonal frost/thaw cycles that do not make this process possible.
- Dust Control: The application of brine or calcium chloride helps to reduce dust and the need for grading. It also provides a bonding substance to the road surface, conserving the amount of gravel that needs to be applied throughout a season. CCRD does one brine application in mid-summer. Townships may choose to pay for an additional application.
- Drainage: May be improved by grading or ditch cleaning to help the water drain.