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Dusty Road Solutions

Discussion in 'Country and Rural Living' started by Live Oak, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. Live Oak

    Live Oak New Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    For those of you who live on a dirt or gravel road; here is a good article on some ideas to minimize the dust and dirt generated by traffic.

    Dusty Road Solutions

    Dust is a price many of us pay to live in the country. Some 70% of U.S. roads are unpaved, and the EPA says about 40% of dust particles come from these unpaved roads right in front of our homes.
    All gravel roads give off dust. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that one vehicle traveling one mile each day down an unpaved country road will generate nearly a ton of dust over the course of a year. Multiply that by the number of vehicles that pass over the dirt road each day and you'll get an idea of the tremendous amount of dust that enters the atmosphere. This dust will travel up to 500 feet before it finally settles down.

    The resulting problems are more than just a nuisance. Driving on dusty roads offers poor visibility, and thus a greater risk of accidents. Dust particles from nearby roads can also creep into adjacent homes where it can cause breathing problems such as asthma, bronchitis and coughing spells. Animals kept close to the road are also vulnerable.

    If dust is a problem on the road in front of your farmstead, here are some ideas to help control the problem.

    Plant a windbreak to block the movement of dust. Driving habits also make a difference. Keep vehicles in the driving lanes and off the road shoulders where dust tends to accumulate. Driving slowly, less than 15 mph, reduces the amount of dust kicked up by vehicles.

    Spreading water over unpaved roads tames dust but results are only temporary. In years past, it was common to spread used engine oil to hold down dust, but this threatens the environment and is now illegal. Keep in mind that anything sprayed on a road surface can enter water supplies through wind or water erosion.

    Today, chloride salts are among the most widely used dust suppressants. They work by pulling water from the atmosphere and binding it to road dirt. Calcium and magnesium chloride are the most popular. Sodium chloride, or table salt, is less effective. Chloride salts are corrosive to metals and can also result in slippery coatings on the road surface. After initial application, a follow-up treatment at a lower rate is usually needed to ensure long-term dust control.

    Lignin sulfonate, more commonly called tree sap, is a by-product of pulpwood processing and is another widely used dust suppressant. This biodegradable product is used in many commercial dust suppressants because it acts as a binder to seal road surfaces and tends to work best when incorporated into gravel on the road surface.

    The soybean industry offers soy soapstock, a by-product of soybean oil extraction. One application should provide three to four months of dust control. This noncorrosive and environmentally friendly solution works by penetrating road surfaces and bonding the gravel together.

    It's best for neighbors to work together and with local road departments. The payoffs include safer roads, cleaner homes and fresh air. Also, road surfaces kept free of dust require less frequent blade maintenance by motor graders. That's a savings to taxpayers.

    The ultimate solution? Pave the dirt roads. As much as elected officials would like to do so, they also know that paving every dirt road would cost a fortune and likely bankrupt the local government. If paving is the solution for your dirt road, it helps if you are on good terms with your county commissioners.
  2. Bruceman

    Bruceman New Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    I live in an old housing addition, built in 1980, that unil 5 years ago had dirt roads.

    We finally talked to the county commish. and agreed for each household to chip in $500.00, barely covering the cost of materials, and the county would maintain the road from then on.

    Best five hundred clams I ever spent. Dust is a killer.


  3. farmallmaniac

    farmallmaniac New Member

    Feb 15, 2004
    They want to pave the road in front of my grandpas house. I hope they don't I love gravel roads. Probably cause I live in the city I think the gravel road keeps it feeling more rural. I like it
  4. Live Oak

    Live Oak New Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    I'm with you Farmall, dirt roads have their bad points but they also signify a remote rural life style and less medling from government and I just like the peace and quiet of the country.
  5. chrpmaster

    chrpmaster New Member

    May 5, 2004
    I agree with you chief and farmall that gravel roads give you more of a country feel. Plus it keeps the city folk from moving in cause it would get their pretty cars dirty. The county paved our road about 5 years ago and it was fine until the farmer across the road from me died and his kids sold off the land to builders. Now instead of looking across the road at corn or beans I look at yuppies trying to make their yards look like they do in the city. plus now they b**ch at me to not burn trash and to clean up my yard. They also have lots of advice on how to make my yard look better. I try to be polite but I think they are full of it. If you move to the country - adjust! They still have yard services come out to kill every dandilion. Of course they really get mad when I "let" my dandilions spread seeds into their yards.


  6. Fordfarm

    Fordfarm Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    Yup - I gots a certain neighbor who has to have every blade of grass manicured, trees planted EXACTLY the same spacing, everything has to be in perfect order. I hear comments through the grapevine about how my place looks. Things like I should paint my barn (it's old barn tin), plant grass (my lawn is about 90% native pasture), my fence posts are crooked (that would be the tree's fault), and other things. He tends to not drive by much anymore and I tend to do stuff just BECAUSE it irritates him. I really don't care what other people think of my place - it's MY place. It's not perfectly well kept, but it ain't junky either. I scrounge a lot of old machinery and odd-ball stuff - the kind of stuff most people throw away. I MacGyverize it into something that I can use. I figured out a long time ago that the people you want/need as friends, neighbors and realatives don't care how your place looks, and you don't have to keep up with the Jones's.
  7. Archdean

    Archdean Active Member

    Jul 15, 2004
    I do my gut level best to make my neighbors think that my given Sir name is Jones!!

    Hey think about it, it's a cost effective way of increaseing the property values in my neck of the woods!! My labor cost me nothing and as for my skills I long since paid for them!!

  8. glenn27

    glenn27 New Member

    Feb 7, 2006
    "in the olden days"

    Chief--I have to agree w/ you on the dusty country roads---
    quick story, then I'll back out of here---when I was small-pre-teen-, my grandparents had a farm about 75 miles south of here.

    the lane going to my grandparent's /my uncles over a mile long, gravel and dirt....Grandad saved the old motor oil/gas/kerosene that he washed parts off in, and dumped it in a big barrel--he had made a rack for this barrel, that would fit on the three-point hitch on the tractor (now that I know what it's called):D

    There was a pipe going across the back, with holes at the bottom, and every month or so, when he got enough oil,------- that was my job on Saturday-drive the tractor up and down the road, spreading the oil----I remember some kind of rope I had to pull to make it start/stop........Talk about American ingenuity!
    Talk about recycling--he kept everything, and somehow found a use for it....

    Excuse the long, rambling post...

  9. Fordfarm

    Fordfarm Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    My taxes are already WAY to high - don't need to raise the property value any MORE! :dazed:
  10. zoeyd

    zoeyd New Member

    Feb 29, 2012
  11. Cublover

    Cublover Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    6 years later, a 'thread' is revived! My road is tar and chip. I like it!
  12. tractor beam

    tractor beam ENGLISH SPRINGER SPANIELS Staff Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Priest River, Idaho
    We got dirt but we're a quarter mile off the road on our own private drive. No dust and just about no noise whatsoever.
  13. 46mech

    46mech New Member

    Jun 26, 2008
    I'm glad this has been revived because this is an issue that is affecting us more these days. We live 3/4 mile off a two-lane paved hwy, down a gravel road and for some reason traffic has increased a bunch up and down our gravel road. I can't figue out why because I have driven around and can't find any new homes that have gone up around us that would account for the traffic. We've had a dry summer and winter so the washboard has gotten real bad around here. Anyway, I'll be going to the township meeting next week to see if this is an issue that might be on their radar. I'd like to do some research so I can have some sense of knowledge about the topic. I'd appreciate any links to info that might get me schooled up.
  14. Cublover

    Cublover Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    Actually, the county road is tar and chip. The driveway is just about 1/2 mile dirt and gravel. the best solution on my road is to drive slower.
    When it's calling for rain, I put logs and rocks on old bedsprings and drag the road, then the rain washes the loose dirt out leaving clean graval again.
  15. 46mech

    46mech New Member

    Jun 26, 2008
    I hear ya about driving slower. The problem for us on this road is that most of the traffic up and down the road now is doing 40 mph - easy. And I too, get out when the road is wet and drag it; it does help greatly for a little while.
  16. Cublover

    Cublover Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    45 degree speed bumps? They would crack a rib hitting that at 40 mph! Angled speed bumps are more 'violent' than 90 degree.