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Gravel Driveway Grading

Gravel Driveway Grading

Gravel Driveway Grading

I have some retirement property in the foothills of the Andes in S. America.

The driveway from the main road to the house is about 70-80 meters at about a 25-30 deg slope (straight up!).

It is dirt and gravel and we are starting to get wheel ruts in it. It did have some grading to it, such that the highest point was the middle of the driveway, but overtime, the car wheels have carved out channels for the rain (or rain has carved out channels for the wheels!)...and it rains a lot during rainy season!

Don't have access, or money, for a grader or concrete and I'm looking for ideas on what to do for a longer term fix.

I'm thinking to install (dig/create) water runoff channels every 15-20 yards to divert the water to the drainage system on either side.

What else is needed? Bigger gravel, more gravel, ? How do I determine where to install runoffs, if that is what I need?
Any other suggestions of websites I can learn from?

...and yes, the best solution would be to wind the road up the slope....

This is normally the space where people post something insightful.

RE: Gravel Driveway Grading

dirt and gravel roads need to be graded from time to time. Adding more gravel may not solve the problem. water bars might be useful, but they do not improve driveability of a dirt road, in fact they may make it more difficult to drive.

Will need to know what is causing your problems. is it drainage, soil conditions, heavy traffic, or something else.

lacking information to base an opinion on, I can direct you to read up on typical methods and then maybe you will have better questions that could be answered.



RE: Gravel Driveway Grading

Rather than run-off channels I have found it is better to place diagonal "humps". Any grading work causes them less damage than channels that get filled otherwise. I'd look long term to stabilize a sand and gravel mix if possible for a road base. Thickness usually is at least 3 inches, but 6 inch thickness works. Sometimes waste chemicals (as comes from paper production)can be incorporated for that stabilization purpose,rather than buying asphalt emulsion, etc. Assuming you may have some other use for it, a common procedure for typical rural area is having a small version of a farm tractor, say 25 to 30 HP with bucket and rear blade. In my area you can rent them. To stabilize with some additive, a rototiller is great, but the rear blade will do it with lots of passes. Some might suggest Portland cement as the stabilizing agent (soil cement) but that becomes rigid and is difficult to shape properly periodically if erosion, etc.

RE: Gravel Driveway Grading

No other magic solutions besides water bars and/or channels, and lots of maintenance. It's my experience that soil stabilizers will struggle to hold up on this steep of a grade. It may delay the erosion and rutting process, but it simply can't hold up for very long with the stormwater velocities along the surface being so high.

RE: Gravel Driveway Grading

Military PSP mats? Might have to stake them in place. Local militias may have some.

RE: Gravel Driveway Grading

The best fix on some 3/4 mile of private road that I maintain and use is the discovery that in driving the road, ALWAYS position the tires on the highest areas of the road, instead of the ruts. It effectively becomes a self leveling road.. If you have the roadway width available, try doing this. Hydraulic soil movement from pressure applied to the high area tends to raise the lower adjacent areas, especially when the roadway has become thoroughly soaked. It has reduced the amount of blade work required to restore the crown on the road and keeps the apparent roadway width wider by killing the grass, etc that tends to grow where not driven on.

On my slopes, water velocities from really heavy storms can still erode channels, but have found the degree is reduced by not having long roadway ruts from constant driving in the same area.

Repeated driving in the ruts tends to of course raise the center area between the ruts, but more importantly raises the adjacent shoulder area, effectively berming the road to become a water channel and weakens the roadbed.

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