Gravel Roads

For those of you living on a gravel road, there is no immediate relief. In the summer, it is bumpy and dusty, in the winter it is slippery and the last to be plowed, and in the spring, it is like mud soup.

Sound familiar? A solution, of course, is pavement but even that has its drawbacks as it tends to increase the amount of traffic on the road as well as speeds.

Smoothing out bumpy roads requires grading with a blade truck or a motor grader. This grading is usually done after a rain because then the road is soft enough for us to smooth it out. When dry, the clay becomes compacted, we are not able to cut down into the hard surface, and any that is removed will not stick in the holes. Sometimes in the spring, this clay makes the roads slippery. It is a hard job to get the right balance of clay, stone and sand on a gravel road. Too little clay and the road quickly develops sand holes and soft spots, too much clay and the road is slippery every time it rains.

Heavily traveled roads are difficult to maintain. Generally, a gravel road holds up pretty well with up to 100 cars per day; more cars than that, and we have problems. Potholes in gravel roads can be graded out if minor, but the larger ones must have gravel put in them. We spend a good share of the spring, summer and fall hauling gravel from our pits to patch gravel roads.

If temporary truck traffic tears a road up, the truckers will frequently have the road repaired if we ask them.

The Montmorency County Road Commission does not have adequate funding to brine county roads. Some of the townships have their own policy on brining for their citizens; call your supervisor to see if your township provides brine. Typically, 250,000 gallons of brine is spread on gravel roads in a year. This has two purposes; it helps to hold the surface together and, of course, reduces the dust.