Thursday, March 31, 2011
This is my driveway. (I think this was a public road as early as 1903, but my neighbor and I hold the deed and the title search company claims its legit.) This area shows proper crowning with adequate ditches on both sides. It has been regraveled about 3 times since 1989 and is due another layer soon. Obviously landscape fabric wasn't invented in 1903, so a good road is possible without it. My preference in the future will be to use landscape fabric when I want a good road. (Sometimes road sort of develop without planning. I can't promise that won't happen.) Also see post Road Building 1 and Road Building 2. For some real information go to this booklet. http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/stewardship/accessroads/accessroads.htm
These 3 pictures show a situation where in 2003 a person started to build a road without landscape fabric. This can be done. In fact, the majority of rural roads were done this way. It takes several years, additional layers of gravel and ongoing maintenance to make it work. In this case, the individual put in the first load and then changed their mind. The first picture is the way the surface looks today. By now a second and third layer should have been placed on top to give you a good aggregate surface. The second picture shows the gravel that was originally dumped on the ground and the third picture shows the gravel soil interface. If this road was travelled frequently, the gravel would get pushed down and the red soil would mix upward. So option 1 is to use landscape fabric followed by one layer of gravel. (See pictures in Road Building 1 post). This should give you a road with less ongoing maintenance although it isn't carefree. Option 2 is to use large gravel to get a base, followed by several more applications of gravel layers. Also see Roadbuilding 3 post and this http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/stewardship/accessroads/accessroads.htm
The picture to the left shows high quality woven landscape fabric on my property that was crossed repeatedly with emply logging trucks on the way in and loaded logging trucks on the way out. (The mulch wasn't present when the logging trucks were using this route.) The rut occured because this area wasn't crowned and held water which eventually led to this small dip. Still there is no tearing from the fully loaded trucks. The picture above is the back entrance of a former Class 3 dairy barn (Roughly 1940 to 1970) that has been used for horses (Roughly 1980 to 2000) and then equipment (2001 to present). When a cow or horse stands in a dry barn and then exits during wet conditions, the dry hoof picks up a little wet dirt and moves it away from the entrance. This eventually leaves a large hole. (One of my friends claims we can't rule out the possiblity that all dairy farmers looked for a hole and built their barn so the cows had to walk through it, but I really like my theory better.) About 2001 this hole was covered with landscape fabric and then gravel. The first picture shows the intact fabric in the bottom of the hole. The fabric has limited the gravels trip downward and has limited the red dirts movement upward. No additional gravel has been added over the past 10 years. Contrast this to the picture in the Roadbuilding 2 post. I figure if I am going to do build a good road the right way, I will use a fabric under the initial gravel. However, there is rural road building expertise in the Natural Resource Conservation Office if you wish to get an expert opinion.