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Old 11/30/11, 11:28 AM
45n5's Avatar  
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 155
Question Keep A Driveway Usable In Wetter Months

My driveway is 700 feet on mild hill, mostly it's tire tracks in a field that I put a couple dozen of wheelbarrows of gravel in.

The problem, every time it rains the tracks fill with water making them mostly unusable. The past few days we have to park at the bottom and walk up.

I know i've seen gravel track driveways before, how do you keep your driveway usable in the wet months? Gravel would cost 2000 to 3000 dollars depending on the quote I get (not possible for us). Here's a couple pics of the mini streams i get when it rains.

Keep A Driveway Usable In Wetter Months - Homesteading Questions

Keep A Driveway Usable In Wetter Months - Homesteading Questions
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Old 11/30/11, 12:15 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
Posts: 10,837
Two things at least need addressed to have a usable driveway. You need to get the road graded to have a crown of the road itself and adequate ditches to keep the run off water off the drive. Second, you need a base of stone. To cut costs ask around to determine if you can locate a source of crushed concrete. Crushed recycled concrete makes a good road and it is usually cheaper than quarry sourced stone.
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Old 11/30/11, 12:35 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: north central Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,733
Totally understand your problem..our is very similar. It is so very muddy that you actually just slide down the drive hoping no cat gets your your way on the way down. Carrying up hay during the winter isn't much fun either. The cost is a lot and that would be on my wish list..among many other things. It is times like this that I wonder if my city sister with her concrete drive is the smarter of us ??Good advice given guess we both need to play the lottery more..
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Old 11/30/11, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
Posts: 8,101
A driveway needs to be higher & crowned than the ground surrounding it. Sheds water off the top.

A driveway needs a ditch on either side to drain water away from the roadbed. Drains water away from the roadbed keeping it dry.

A driveway needs small rock or gravel to support weight and tire traffic when the base of it is a tad wet. Keeps the top from breaking down, turning into 2 muddy trails.

What you have is not a driveway, what you have is a water ditch that you are driving in....

What you need is the opposite of what you have.

I understand, money & time, been down that path too. No magic to it, just need to figure out how to do it. Just adding a bit of gravel to what you have is worthless. You need to build the roadbed up higher, or shave the road ditches down lower to start with. A road grader or a tractor and plow could do a lot to start with at the right time of the year.

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Old 11/30/11, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: W. Oregon
Posts: 10,057
Your "road" is lower than the surounding ground so water stays in the low ground (road) and keeps getting lower because it is soft. I have built roads using a regular moldboard plow. Lay it up in the middle and make ditches with the furrow. Once that is done the road needs packed and crowned, then a base of rock is layed to keep the road bed from settling and pushing out into the ditches. I have put a 6"x6"x 2' long in the center of a gravel truck and spread gravel in the tracks (rut) to keep a crown in the road. If spread evenly enough I can take the rear blade turned around backwards and angled so any rock moved is taken to the center of the road. To keep a good road it needs maintained regularly....James
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Old 11/30/11, 01:53 PM
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I've mentioned this many times before. Get a 20' wide roll of geotextile and roll it out over the worse places. Spread crush and run gravel on top of that. The geotextile keeps the gravel from sinking down to China. It will also save on the amount of gravel you need. The crush and run will pack togther and make a solid surface.

Once you get the geotextile down and covered with crush and run gravel, the driveway won't rut.
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Old 11/30/11, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 852
Part of the problem is simply that you are driving in the tracts. Every time you drive in the tracts they get ever so slightly bigger. On our driveway, I try to pass over a different section every time, so our driveway is uniformly compacted and doesn't have any rutting at all. Even though there are low spots in it, the uniformly compacted ground seems to displace the rainwater falling on it.

At this point, you may have to scalp it flat first, then let it dry out, then start over. A cheap way to do that is get several railroad ties that you link together with short peices of chain. Then drag it across the surface to flatten. Once it's flat, that's when you pay attention to not letting ruts develop again.
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Old 11/30/11, 03:10 PM
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Location: WV
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I agree with Darren get some typar and spread it over the road. Note: typar won’t work on slopes; if the road has a pitch to it then typar won’t work.
Next with or without typar put down a good layer of 4 inch rock. Then put down 3/4 inch over that. Crusher run is the fines and dust that are made from crushing the rock at the mill. Crusher run can help to bind the rock together, and if done properly will shed water. It needs to be crowned. Now the hard part, any one who lives in the country needs a tractor, in this case it will pay for itself in road maintaince. The whole job will cost around $6000.00 to $8000.00 and with out a tractor will last a few years. With a tractor it may cost $300.00 a year to fill in holes and make and keep drainage ditches open.
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Old 11/30/11, 03:16 PM
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Location: EastTN: Former State of Franklin
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The bottom line is you're gonna need those thousands of dollars worth of gravel in addition to the suggestions above of grading/geo-fabric.

Or plan on walking.

Those are your two choices.
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Old 11/30/11, 04:57 PM
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Location: Central Wisconsin
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I used to live in a swamp, getting in during spring thaw and early fall rains was impossible. I went to various farmers and asked if I could dig through their rock piles. I hauled 4-5 pickup loads in worth of free rock. It was enough so I didn't have to park on the road. If you have more time than money that is an option. I also got a bunch of big wide planks which I scavenged for free. I'd set them up, drive 20 feet, pickup the planks behind me and then put them in front of the truck. It worked, although it was a time consuming pain. I also had old silo staves which I scavenged for nothing. They make a good base to set in the tracks but it'll take a lot of scavenging to get 700 feet . Another option I looked into was obtaining free mobile homes, tearing them down, scrapping what I could for cash, and then use the frames as a bridge over the worst of the swamp. You could instead cut the frame rails apart and lay them flat. It'll be about a foot to a foot and a half wide. Should be wide enough to fit some car tires. Good luck
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Old 11/30/11, 09:51 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Kentucky
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thanks all for the info

"crowning" is a word i hadn't heard before or thought to lookup

doesn't the tracks i have now do a basic idea of what i want, two low ditches on the side with higher ground in the middle? except the middle needs to be wider

i wonder if i can't take a shovel to the tire track on the left, take it down a shovel full or two all the way down my drive and see if that helps keep the water off, that would move me out of the ruts also and to the right a few feet, and maybe new ruts wouldn't start if it's drier?
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Old 12/01/11, 05:26 PM
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Walter Jeffries
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Location: Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
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Raise the driveway up on a bed of draining stone. Big stone on the bottom, then gradually smaller until the top layer which is 1.5"minus stone with fines. Needs to be a foot or more than the surrounding ground. Culverts if there are any places water will backup on one side. This works. Better yet is if you're starting on top of ledge like we are. If you're on mud then stuff sinks. I lay down big slabs of granite, like 14'x6'x8" as a base in such spots. Your flat land so that's hard. My guess is there isn't much rock either. Gotta get the water away and build up.
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Old 12/01/11, 08:57 PM
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Get a 4WD until next year, I think it's too late to work on it. Soon it will be freezing and thawing, and muddy, so save some dough and have it worked on next summer.

I see a very dark cloud on America's horizon,
and that cloud is coming from Rome.
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Old 12/02/11, 12:39 AM
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Originally Posted by VERN in IL View Post
Get a 4WD until next year, I think it's too late to work on it. Soon it will be freezing and thawing, and muddy, so save some dough and have it worked on next summer.
Yes, this is the wrong time of year to try to build a driveway. You will just waste your money, as the materials you put on it will sink in the mud.

Save your money over the winter, then hire a guy with some machinery to build a good crown with proper drainage. Give it time to pack, during dry weather, as you drive over it a little while. Then top it with either geotextile fabric and gravel, or big rock and gravel.
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Old 12/02/11, 09:55 AM
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Location: Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
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...............There are two steps you can complete , Now , without being able too gravel the whole road . (1) Rent a fairly large tractor like a Ford 445 with a shuttle shift that has a 6 foot box blade , now on the HIGH side of the road build a continuous berm a couple of feet off the road but running parallel WITH the road . You do this by using the box blade and Pushing the soil and\or dragging the soil too form the berm . You want it to form a continuous line such that when it rains the water will be intercepted by the berm before it gets too the road . Obviously , under heavy rain deluges can't be prevented from making the road wet . BUT , once you've graveled the whole road the berm will prevent the rock from being washed away .
...............Next , from looking at your pics I can see the obvious low points on the road were the water will run across the road and down the side of the hill . At these points you need too install tin horns of sufficient diameter too allow the water to run under the road . The berm will direct all the runoff down to these drainage points . On my road I purchased about 500 regular house bricks very cheap and built a catch basin where the runoff would dump into and then immediately flow into the tin horn which I had buried under the road . When the soil is wet you can use the frontend loader to dig a "V" shaped ditch large enough too hold the tin horn . Once I had the tin horn(s) set I built the brick catch basin and brick wall around the end of the tin horn . I had a small rise on my road where each drain pipe was located .
...............You can both , build your berms and dig your ditches with the same tractor , IF it is sufficiently large enough and heavy enough too accomplish the work you need it to do . , fordy
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Old 12/02/11, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,862
I had a similar problem with little cash........I bought "pick-up" loads of #4 gravel at a time......filled in the worst spots first (just in the tire tracks at first). I kept bringing in more and more loads. It took a while, but at least I don't "sink down" and get stuck. Here in Ohio. we do get some "frost heaving" that pushes things up out of the ground, but nothing like I used to see in Maine. I gradually filled in the space between the tire tracks.

I average about 1100-1400 lbs of gravel at a time with my S-10, so it has not been an "overnight" solution. Each load costs me $5-7/ the project was not a "budget-buster." Now I have a pretty good base......and the next step will be to cover it with smaller gravel.

I have had a couple loads of gravel delivered (at a cost of $125-135/load.) has been about a 3 year project. The first layers of gravel gradually sunk down into the mud, so it seemed, at first, like an eternal project. But the base seemed to gradually get established, and then there was a time of just filling in "low spots" where the gravel still seemed to "settle."

Drainage becomes the 'key" I added more and more gravel, the "crown" developed..........using a plow to make ditches on each side sounds like a great idea.
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Old 12/02/11, 12:15 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 155
thanks again for all the suggestions

you know, it seems like i've driven on peoples driveways where they just had gravel in the tire tracks, not sure how they did it, but it sure won't work for us

anyway for fun here's a quick update about a week later,

you can see we've been sliding quite a bit when we attempt to make it up the hill, and fail mostly, will have to get used to sliding in our toyota yaris for awhile

Keep A Driveway Usable In Wetter Months - Homesteading Questions
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Old 12/02/11, 01:51 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: WV
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There is a v shaped thing they can put in the dump body of the truck and lay out the stone in just the tire tracks. If you talk to a trucker who can haul stone I think that for 700 feet you can get away with 40 tons of 1 inch stone and if the guy is good you won’t have to do anything but do it over next year. And it will allow you to drive right up the driveway without slipping. Next year have the 4 inch stuff put down and 1 inch over that.

It will work very well for you.
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Old 12/02/11, 02:49 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Moving from NM to TX, & back to NM.
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And geta good 4WD vehicle, that will help a lot.
We will meet in the golden city, called the New Jerusalem,
All our pain and all our tears will be no more.....
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Old 12/03/11, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Western North Carolina
Posts: 3,117
Wood chips. Lots and lots of wood chips. Get the chips for Free from tree service companies who want to dump them. We found two tree cutters who needed to clean out a yard full of old chips and we let them dump them all here......used them all up fast.

Now - people will tell you not to use the wood chips. But.......we had used chips anyway before we had anyone tell us not to do so. we are 8 years later and the roads where we dumped wood chips are still good.

On our main driveway we put freshly cut chips all along the road bed. They mashed down into the mud and we put more on........then one day when it was dry, we did dump some "crush a run" gravel on top. It has stayed now for over eight years. We no longer put wood chips on the main road since the gravel stays put now.

On two other roads we still dump wood chips. On one road we once dumped a foot deep of old wood chips.......then later after it smashed down some we topped it with freshly cut chips.....

On another road we just let the tree man scatter the fresh cut chips as he chipped some for us.......and it worked fine too.

See if you can find some free wood chips and fill up the holes with the chips......try to get the new fresh chips so those are not rotten and just adding to the mess.......the fresh ones will take longer to break down.......

Good luck
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