Frequently asked questions regarding gravel and dirt roads
- We live on a gravel road and would like to have it paved…
- I can not leave my windows open because of the dust…
- Our gravel road is a muddy mess! Can you do something to stop this springtime situation?
- Now that the frost is out, why are you pulling in the sod and making a huge mess on the gravel roads?
- The gravel road I live on is full of holes – when are you going to grade it?
We live on a gravel road and would like to have it paved…
Primary roads are selected for paving based on a pavement inventory rating system which takes into consideration the physical condition of the road, the average daily traffic, and the physical ride quality of the pavement.
Local roads are typically selected by the townships based on the concerns of the public and the amount of money that they have available to cost share with the road department. Many local roads were improved using private development funds, contributions from township government or by special assessment charges on the properties that access a particular road. The level of funding provided to the road department, by law, is not sufficient to pay for the initial paving of a road. Although township government has no responsibility for road maintenance or improvement, and does not receive any road tax money, they have been very supportive of county roads over the years, and you may wish to contact them to see if they have any plans to improve your road in the future.
You can also obtain a petition to set up a special assessment district to improve your road from the road department. When signed by the owners of 51 percent or more of the frontage on a road, such a petition authorizes the road department to set up a special assessment district, prepare plans and estimates of the work needed to pave the road, and hold public hearings regarding the proposed project. All properties accessing the road would share in the expense of the project, which could be spread over a period of up to ten years.[Top]
I can not leave my windows open because of the dust…
The application of brine or calcium chloride helps to reduce dust and the need for grading and provides a bonding substance to the road surface, conserving the amount of gravel that needs to be layed throughout a season. The road department makes one brine application each year. Townships may choose to pay for additional applications.[Top]
Our gravel road is a muddy mess! Can you do something to stop this springtime situation?
We can try, and we do try, but in the spring when the frost comes out of the roadbed, what was once frozen and solid turns soft and unstable. It will remain this way until the moisture comes out of the roadbed. The best cure for this is warm, dry temperatures and a good wind. If we attempt to haul gravel on top of this condition, it could turn it into a bigger mess. There is a saying in the trade that “adding a bucket of gravel to a bucket of mud just gets you a bigger bucket of mud.” There is much truth to this quip, as adding sand or gravel to fill a mudhole usually has little or no effect because the gravel ends up mixing with the mud, just making more mud and sometimes aggravating the problem as equipment stirs things up.[Top]
Now that the frost is out, why are you pulling in the sod and making a huge mess on the gravel roads?
Road commission crews pull shoulders on gravel roads in the county every spring before the grass begins to grow on the side of the road. This maintenance is done to reclaim gravel that has been pushed into the shoulder as well as to remove the berm on the roadside which keeps the water from flowing off the road.
We lose a lot of gravel either from rain washing it off the road or from vehicles kicking it up from normal driving. By doing this the road department can save thousands of tons of gravel. The process of pulling shoulders involves a couple of steps. A tractor with a retriever (disk), or motor grader, goes through and pulls the berm into the center of the road. Next a truck grader “beats” the gravel out of the sod and mixes it with existing gravel. This isn’t a thing that’s done in one day. It can be a two-week process. The graders do come back on a regular basis to check on it and regrade as necessary.[Top]
The gravel road I live on is full of holes – when are you going to grade it?
In the summer, roads are always graded prior to having chloride applied. In addition, we try to blade gravel roads after it rains and the road has softened up. In the winter, there is not much we can do until the frost is out of the roads.[Top]