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Christopher J. Bouchard September 13, 2014. Unpaved Roads BMPs Unpaved road maintenance and best practices. If I use acronyms or you have a question when.

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Presentation on theme: "Christopher J. Bouchard September 13, 2014. Unpaved Roads BMPs Unpaved road maintenance and best practices. If I use acronyms or you have a question when."— Presentation transcript:

1 Christopher J. Bouchard September 13, 2014

2 Unpaved Roads BMPs Unpaved road maintenance and best practices. If I use acronyms or you have a question when I am talking please stop me for an explanation. Presentation will end with a question and answer period. The info I will cover is a manual that Berkshire Regional Planning Commission prepared for the MA DEP and EPA on Unpaved Roads Best Management Practices Manual in 2001. This manual is online at under helpful links.

3 Lincoln Rd. East Otis, MA

4 Introduction Christopher J. Bouchard Highway Superintendent / Tree Warden Town of Becket 413-623-8988

5 Big Pond, Otis, MA

6 Unpaved Road Facts U.S. has approximately 1.6 million miles of unpaved roads (53%) We need to do all we can to maintain them. Roads are the biggest assets owned by cities, towns and private road associations If built today, barriers would include wetland regulations, cost (almost $1 million/mile, not including bridges and large culverts).

7 Blandford, MA

8 Topics Roadside vegetation: trees, shrubs, grasses and weeds Materials: bank run, screened, crushed gravels and base treatments Ditches and culverts: water control devices and the important role they play Road maintenance: grading, raking, rolling, dust/ erosion control, blowing leaves, cleaning ditches, culverts and snowplowing Contractor selection: consider equipment and knowledge Successes and failures with above topics The 5 seasons Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and MUD

9 Otis Reservoir Otis, Ma

10 All Weather Access Can emergency vehicles safely use your roads in all weather conditions and seasons? Delivery vehicles? Passenger vehicles?


12 Roadside Trees and Vegetation Provide shade, roadside stabilization, filtering runoff Prohibit sun and wind entry to dry road (mud season, post rain events) Create issues with sight distances/safe road travel Hinders maintenance activities. Invasive species can harm good vegetation and water bodies. Consider life cycle and disease/damage with road maintenance.

13 Ice Storm 2008

14 Surface and Base Materials Proper choice of materials determines road performance. Suggested materials for base/surface Crushed stone Crushed dense graded materials that are non soluble and meet MASS DOT specs for sieve, hardness, proper mix and compactability When graded they will mix and compact well giving good structural surface support.

15 West Stockbridge, MA

16 Surface and Base Materials Avoid Round bank run and screened products either have a high content round stone, fines and clays or all the above Never fully lock together Always moving with traffic causing wash boarding, potholes and erosion.

17 ¾” Dense Graded Crushed Stone

18 Additional Surface/Base Considerations Properly installed base treatments with fabrics, geo grids and soil amendments stabilize the road Proper installation Remove top 18”to 24” of road Install product Replace proper surface materials

19 West Stockbridge, MA

20 Additional Surface/Base Considerations Based on experience Installing fabrics/ geo grids within first 4” to 6” causes poor performance When budget doesn’t allow for proper depth installation / road closure, invest in proper surface materials. Add new material every year or two due to 1” to 3” loss per year (due to traffic, erosion, weather events and snow removal). Road entrenchment hampers goals with roadway surface water; limited low cost solutions. Form proactive materials budget (rather than reactive).

21 An exercise: Maintaining one mile of road 1 mile of gravel 2” thick = 900 tons (5280’ long x 14’ wide x 2” thick) Gravel = $11,745 ($13/ton) Trucking = $2,700 (36 tri axle loads @ $75/hr) Grader = $1,280 (8 hrs @ $160/hr) Rake = $200 (4 hrs @ $50/hr) Roller = $187.50 (2.5 hrs @ $75/hr) TOTAL = $16,112.50 per mile

22 6” of rain from thunderstorm Becket, MA

23 Ditches and Culverts One of the most important features of a gravel road Direct water discharge away from road Remove spring frost Lack of proper ditches = increased mud, erosion, washouts, maintenance and costs. Controlling water (natural enemy of unpaved roadways) reduces cost and maintenance. Maintain ditches at least once per season (cleaning, reshaping)

24 Becket Rd. Otis, MA

25 Ditches and Culverts Challenges/solutions Ditch width related to water velocity (challenging on hills) Install drop inlets with culverts running under the ditches (collect & channel water to bottom) Install water bars to slow water/catch solids. Consider ledge, narrow right of way, narrow roadways, steep embankments, steep roadways, and road entrenchment Ground discharge to reduce solids that reach ponds, brooks, streams and rivers with water bars, turnouts and settling basins. Culverts constructed with concrete, plastic, steel and aluminum.

26 Fred Snow Rd. Becket, MA

27 Colorado DOT waterbars

28 Regulations and Permits Private road/home owners associations are NOT exempt from: Storm water permitting Conservation Commission DEP Army Corp. EPA MASS DOT Chap 85 MASS DOT Access Endangered Species Easements and Stream Crossing Standards City / Town

29 Becket, MA

30 Road Maintenance MOST important in maintaining a gravel road. Proper grading/shaping. (½” to ¾” of crown /ft from center of road, avoid parabolic crown) Ditching the road (at least once/year) Grading timing and method (rock, rake, and roll). Quality is key! Grade at least twice/year Fall maintenance Spend the time - it pays huge dividends. Organic material concerns Dust and erosion control

31 Grader Class 2012 Otis, MA

32 Road Maintenance Roadside mowing Culvert and drop inlet maintenance. Proper snow plowing technique and equipment Sanding material (bivi chips or 3/8 crushed stone) and minimal salt Snow bank maintenance for spring thaw / rain control Come up with a budget for material and services to be proactive not reactive. Emergencies - be prepared

33 Grader Class 2012 Otis, MA

34 Choosing a Contractor Consider pros/cons of subcontracting vs. doing the work yourself. Contractors: Ask for equipment list, own/lease status Schedule a visit to verify proper equipment and maintenance Good intensions doesn’t always produce good results Ask for references View past/current work Talk to their customers

35 Fred Snow Rd. Becket, MA

36 Choosing a Contractor Are they proactive vs reactive? Decide how you want to contract - by the hour, season, or mile? Determine budget Be clear about what you want done and timeline. Put terms in writing and follow it. Who is in charge of keeping track of the contractors work? Emergency work - be prepared

37 Truck Mounted Leaf Blower Otis Highway Dept.

38 Do It Yourself New road grader = $342,000 plus fuel, cutting edges, tires and repairs Years of training/hands on to become proficient Tow behind rake = $30,000 Roller = $50,000 Storage and maintenance costs OR, consider renting An expensive proposition no matter what path you choose - make well-informed decisions.

39 Ready for Winter Otis Highway Dept.

40 County Rd. Becket, MA

41 Question and Answer Thank you for having me Questions?

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