The Road Less Traveled Might Be Graveled - Part 1

Friday, January 22, 2016

Environmental Practices Work!

(Part 1 of a 2-Part Article)

Most homes in the country or on acreage are accessed over a gravel road. Usually it’s a private road or driveway that leads back from the main road, and gravel is an affordable alternative to paving, which can be three times as expensive. The county typically does not maintain these roads, so it’s the responsibility of the homeowners.

Obviously, getting in and out is an important issue – especially during winter months when weather can be hard on a road. Keeping a minimum amount of gravel on the surface can help, but it won’t do any good unless you observe the common adage about proper road maintenance: “drainage, drainage, drainage.” Water and gravity are natural forces that must be addressed in road design and maintenance. Even paved roads need to follow basic design rules – unless water is drained off properly, it will erode the surface. Plus, it’s a serious environmental issue –  road erosion can create sediment and pollution issues for local streams and rivers.

The Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies (yes, there really is such a thing at Pennsylvania State University!) states that most roads should have a “crown” – a center that is higher than the sides.  This ensures the water will drain to either side – then properly dispersed either into a ditch or broad shoulder.  Crowns should be at least 1/2 inch high for every foot of width. E.g., a 20-foot wide road, (10 feet on either side) should have a 5 inch crown from side to center.  The exception might be roads on a slope – they often drain better if allowed to flow to one side. The key is to observe the natural draining patterns of the landscape and work with nature to accommodate water flow.

For a graphic illustration, continue to Part 2

If you want to learn more about ViewHomes in Clark County and Nature Not Neighbors, contact us at Harcourts USA -The Carl Group.  You can begin your search here.