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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bad Grades for Grader: GF&P Wrecks Lake Herman Road

And now for some good old-fashioned complaining....

Cottonwood Cove Trail is about a thousand feet of gravel that leads to Lake Herman's free boat ramp and the Madville Times World Headquarters. The road belongs to the GF&P, so Lake County has no obligation to maintain it. In the winter, Dad and I have to fire up the skidsteer to clear drifts. GF&P contracts some minimal maintenance... but sometimes, we almost wish they wouldn't.

Consider yesterday's pass by the road grader.

Here we see the north side of Cottonwood Cove Trail. Nice smooth edge, allowing water to run down from the central crown of the road down into the ditch, as it should. The driver may have dropped the blade a little low, scraping away the gravel and exposing the dirt in patches, making it easier for grass and weeds to grow in the roadway, but overall, not too bad.

But where did that gravel go?

Ah, the south side. Usually, as I understand it from the county, when you pull that shoulder, you put the gravel back in the center to rebuild the crown. But yesterday the road grader left a berm all the way down the south edge of the road. Water flowing south from the crown won't reach the ditch; it will hit our new dirt curb and rush straight down the roadway, carving a channel, sweeping gravel away, and leaving more mud for drivers.

Leaving a ridge like this and creating a secondary ditch on the roadway is exactly how not to maintain a gravel road (at least according to my dad... and the engineers at U. Mass. Amherst... and the South Dakota Gravel Roads Maintenance and Design Manual [p. 13]). It also plays heck with my bike when I try to ride the shoulder and give room to boaters coming down the road.

Oh well. I guess my dad the volunteer self-trained civil engineer will just have to take the skidsteer out and fix the public road himself... again.

So, to whoever's running the road show here, next time, if you're going to send out the road grader, send someone who will take the time to do the job right... or just drop off the equipment and let us handle it.

1 comment:

  1. I have moved a lot of snow off township roads since snow removal does not seem to be on the boards agenda for this part of the township, but we have avoided moving gravel around. I just don't know about the legal consequences if somebody drives like a loon and crashes and then blames crash on us for the gravel situation.

    Have you checked on that?


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