Sunday, April 21, 2013

Repairing the driveway

Our driveway has been a source of pain since we bought this house.  As we've noted earlier, it's a dirt track, with very soft earth, easily retaining water.  So every mud season the driveway imitates WWI's Western Front.  We try all kinds of things to mitigate the thing, including carving then maintaining a long drainage ditch running its whole length.

This month we reached out for help, and hired one of the fine local contractors to gravel the driveway.
The upper half of driveway, looking towards the lane.
The helpful contractor poured two big loads of gravel along the way, then graded it decently flat.  The results are pleasing, as we can now drive easily along the driveway.  A natural gas delivery driver refused to attempt the track last week, but was happy to drive the amended way.

This is one of those situations when self-reliance falls short.  We don't own this much gravel, nor can we produce it through digging the land.  Nor do we own machinery capable of hauling, dumping, or grading this much rock.

Another downside: the driveway's earth is soft, as I mentioned above.  So these little rocks will gradually sink down into the soil and vanish.  After some time (two years, perhaps) we'll have to repeat the process.


Iggy O said...

I've written a bit at "Tractorpunk" about maintaining our farm roads. The one in Buckingham County is half a mile long, and to gravel it fully would break our budget. We do have a tractor and a scraper blade I put on in place of the mower every winter, and that does the job. So if you find a used tractor with loader on front and blade at the back (under $10K for a great rig, and older ones can run less) you'll be able to DIY this in future. We use a small plow to keep the ditches open. Good luck! I know you get way more freeze/thaw than we do in Ol' Virginny.

Next time to add stone, go with #3 under the gravel. It won't vanish as fast and will gradually build up a road-bed, much as the Romans did.

Bryan Alexander said...

Tractor is tempting, if we could afford the funds.
Thanks for the gravel type tip.