Monday, June 24, 2013

Road maintenance

We have a long driveway. A very, very long driveway. And it feeds off a private road. A very, very long private road. Great for privacy; horrible for road maintenance. Add to this the fact that the driveway started life as a skidder trail (those honking big machines used to drag timber out of the forest during logging) and you can see that we have work ahead of us for years to come.

When we bought the property oh those many years ago we spent time and money improving the road. It worked and we've been able to drive in pretty consistently (the first year the road was so bad we had to bring materials onto the site with a wheelbarrow to get through the mud). Then while we were building last fall we hit some freeze/thaw cycles right when big, heavy trucks needed to come through. They toasted the road.

Just some of the damage
We couldn't fix it right away because we had to get through spring thaw (mud season) and wait for the weight restriction to be lifted from the main roads (limited to 4 tons during aforementioned mud season).

First we put in a new culvert at the main road. Actually, this time we paid for it to be done. Since we needed the excavator and dump trucks anyway, it made sense to have them do the work. 

Goes pretty quick when the equipment is this big. When Chris and I did the driveway culvert back in 2008, it took us all day and we got completely coated in mud (think face-plant comedy routine). Took these guys about an hour. And they were able to correct the grading at the entrance. Looks much better now.
New culvert at road
New grading
Then they started work on the road. They had to smooth it, dig drainage ditches next to it to eliminate sponging, and dig up and replace an old culvert that wasn't quite doing its job.
Repairing the old culvert
Then we had them bring in rocky fill so that we could begin laying a road base up by the house. The main driveway just needed smoothing and fines, so that went pretty quickly and we've done most of the smoothing work there ourselves. We've also started culling rocks from up by the house and moving them to the culvert entrance/exits and the ditches. That should help keep the proper shapes.

The house driveway was in bad shape (Remember when the Nat Grid truck got stuck?) so we needed to completely rebuild that road bed. Step one is some basic grading, which we did with our tractor.
Step two is to bring in some surprisingly rocky fill.
Big rocks!
This looked so wrong when he dumped it out. But those big rocks push to the edges of the road and help keep the dirt in place. If you just have sand or fines it washes away in the first big rain.

So we used the tractor again and slowly spread out the fill. Once it's in place it looks more reasonable but I still wouldn't want to drive a car over it. 
All spread out
We've got two more loads coming of decreasing rock mix. Fines on top will smooth it out and it should hold. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

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