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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    44
    Location
    Ithaca, NY (upstate)
    Tractor
    1989 John Deere 855

    Default Dirt/Gravel Driveway Major Maintenance

    I've got a driveway that is about a quater mile long. It goes up a gradual slope for about 900 feet (pretty much 90 degrees to the contour, e.g., very little left/right grade, a miniscule amount of grade), then makes a 90 degree turn up to the house for the other ~300 feet. There is a shallow ditch on the right of the first 900 feet. The driveway is mostly dirt, with some stone left, although a lot of it has been "plowed" away or is in the hard earth.

    I've attached a crude drawing of what the cross-section of the driveway looks like. The bottom line is, the crown is about gone, the shoulders are higher than the crown, and you can see obvious wheel ruts. The result is, when it rains and melting snow, at least one massive rut has formed (near the bottom: the water slowly builds up from the top because it doesn't get off the road!). The second (Very) crude drawing shows a view looking at the bottom of the driveway (Where it meets the road), looking from the side. As you can see, the driveway is much lower than the road, resulting in puddle of standing water for weeks after a rain.

    Hopefully, that gives you the context of my issues. Now I'm looking to fix all that. I've been searching the forum and found a lot of good tips, but I'm still wondering if I'm thinking the right things for "my" project. First, I have an 855 with a FEL, but that's it. From my researching and reading, I'm leaning towards the following: buying a box blade and fitting my 3-point hitch with a top and tilt (vs. the other leading candidate, a rear blade (and possibly the top and tilt)). If the box blade is the right thing, is there a way to do it without the top and tilt or is it far more worth fitting the topand tilt?

    If that is indeed the right thing to do (probably pushing $1K btw from what I can tell), then I have a lot of follow up questions since I'm unfamiliar with hydraulics and top and tilt (but don't let that lean you towards getting someone else to do it ... i know i can figure it out, just need a place to start). But first off, maybe I should leave it at the above so I can settle on the general approach before delving into that.

    Thanks in advance!!
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    1989 JD 855, 4WD hydro, 28hp, FEL, 60" rear finish mower

  2. #2
    Platinum Member woodchuckie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    628
    Location
    Moundville,AL
    Tractor
    KUBOTA L 2800

    Default Re: Dirt/Gravel Driveway Major Maintenance

    at least one massive rut has formed (near the bottom: the water slowly builds up from the top because it doesn't get off the road!).

    The more places the water can get off the road the better. I have a slight cut and rise to get the water off and I have practally no washing thus no maintainience.

  3. #3
    Elite Member teg's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
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    4,007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC Hillsville, VA
    Tractor
    L2800.

    Default Re: Dirt/Gravel Driveway Major Maintenance

    If you have money to burn, get TnT, it saves time and energy getting on and off the tractor to adjust the blade/BB (but you don't have too.) I would put that money into a good blade and lots of gravel. I'm assuming the view you posted is of the side, I would cut the driveway and fill in the low spot where the water stands. Cut a ditch along side of the driveway and put the dirt on top of the driveway to build it up (make the crown so water will run off the road and into the ditches. Do you have drainage problems, or do you have a place for the water to run off?

  4. #4
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    140
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada

    Default Re: Dirt/Gravel Driveway Major Maintenance

    I wouldn't use mud to build up the driveway if you already have mud coming through. Get some 2" rock from your local pit and build it up with that. At least you'll have a real base that you can put 3/4" rock on without pounding it into the mud.
    B7510 HST, LA302 FEL, Ballast box, 60" Farm King BB, 48" KK tiller, foldable ROPS

  5. #5
    Elite Member schmism's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,937
    Location
    Peoria IL
    Tractor
    New holland TC(33)

    Default Re: Dirt/Gravel Driveway Major Maintenance

    A box blade is really the key for hard cutting.

    but a rear blade is really the key for moveing grading material (cutting off a high rut, and windrowing it toward the center.

    Perhaps a scarafier to break up the surface and a blade to move the material.

    Your gonna be stuck with a lip at the road as the county road peeps dont like it when you screw up there drainage by building up the side of the road to level off your driveway entrance.
    Steve - TC33D 4x4 FEL, dual rear remotes with toys

  6. #6
    Silver Member tree farmer's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    137
    Location
    X-treme NW Orygun
    Tractor
    2740 Montana;3414 IH;TD-14 IH

    Default Re: Dirt/Gravel Driveway Major Maintenance

    If you have a future use for the box blade, I'd go with that. It's a lot heavier and won't bounce around as much as a rear grader blade, but its use beyond the driveway is pretty limited. I put in about 800' of 20' wide driveway from the highway to the house about 15 years ago. Most of this is on about an 8% grade. I wanted to eliminate ruts on this grade, so I had the dump truck make one pass up the hill, spreading the 4" crushed base about a foot deep, starting at the bottom of the hill. While the truck was getting another load, (about 15 min.) I spread and walked it in with my old TD-14 dozer with a 10' tilt blade to about 18' wide, with about a 6" crown in the middle of the road. I followed that with about 2" of 3/4'minus, also walked in with the dozer. A couple of years later, I got a deal on some 1/4" minus, so I bought 150 yards of that , and have spread on a thin lift of that maybe once or twice a year since then. I have no ruts or washing problems at all, inspite of the 130"+ of rain we get here. Just takes 2 or 3 quick passes with the little 2740 Montana now to keep it in shape. I believe to build up a road you need to use clean, crushed base, not pit run with a lot of fines and dirt in it. Unless you have some pretty heavy-duty vibratory rolling equipment, you cannot compact it evenly and will end up with ruts and potholes as the fines and dirt find their way down. It's gonna cost more, but I, for one, have lots of things I would rather do than fill potholes and splash through puddles in the winter. ...Dan
    2740 Montana 3414 IH loader/backhoe TD-14 IH dozer/drum B27-2B Yanmar Mini-Exc.

  7. #7
    Silver Member Onthesauk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    177
    Location
    NW Washington
    Tractor
    Ford 3000

    Default Re: Dirt/Gravel Driveway Major Maintenance

    About ten yiears ago I brought in 1/4 mile of County road and another 1/4 mile of my own driveway. Cut a deal with the County, didn't make it as wide as they wanted but twice as thick. Over a thousand yards of pit run. Drove on that for a couple of years and then 30 yards of 2"minus on the uphill portion. Drove on that for another year or two, built the house and then started putting down 5/8" minus every year or two. Rake it occasionally with the landscape rake, (no guage wheels,) and fill an occasional small pot hole. Otherwise virtually trouble free with about 90 inches of rain a year and a month or two of snow each winter. As someone above suggested, lots of gravel.
    Ford 3000

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    44
    Location
    Ithaca, NY (upstate)
    Tractor
    1989 John Deere 855

    Default Re: Dirt/Gravel Driveway Major Maintenance

    teg - I do have drainage problems in that the water does not properly get off the driveway and accumulates: by the time you get towards the bottom of the driveway, streams have formed. There is a ditch already cut on one side of the driveway.

    the rest - It looks like you recommend using stone rather than filling in with dirt. Do I have that right? My follow-up question to that is, we get a lot of snow: if I have that much stone, won't I plow it all away come winter?

    Also, the shoulders are now generally higher than the driveway, meaning, even if I get the crown rebuilt, the water wouldn't be able to get over the shoulder and off. Should I use the box blade to cut down the shoulders? If so, the plan would be to use the box blade (would a rear blade be able to cut through this stuff, the driveway is pretty hard/packed?), break up all of the driveway (forgot to mention i have 15-20 3-4" potholes also), cut the shoulders down and move everything towards the center so there is a true crown all the way to the ditch on one side and to the slight slope on the other.
    1989 JD 855, 4WD hydro, 28hp, FEL, 60" rear finish mower

  9. #9
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    310
    Location
    Maine
    Tractor
    New Holland TC55DA EHSS 4Wd

    Default Re: Dirt/Gravel Driveway Major Maintenance

    Quote Originally Posted by flyer
    teg - I do have drainage problems in that the water does not properly get off the driveway and accumulates: by the time you get towards the bottom of the driveway, streams have formed. There is a ditch already cut on one side of the driveway.

    the rest - It looks like you recommend using stone rather than filling in with dirt. Do I have that right? My follow-up question to that is, we get a lot of snow: if I have that much stone, won't I plow it all away come winter?

    Also, the shoulders are now generally higher than the driveway, meaning, even if I get the crown rebuilt, the water wouldn't be able to get over the shoulder and off. Should I use the box blade to cut down the shoulders? If so, the plan would be to use the box blade (would a rear blade be able to cut through this stuff, the driveway is pretty hard/packed?), break up all of the driveway (forgot to mention i have 15-20 3-4" potholes also), cut the shoulders down and move everything towards the center so there is a true crown all the way to the ditch on one side and to the slight slope on the other.
    I had similar issues with a road that I maintain. Over the years we have tried to add gravel to get the road higher than the shoulders. Once you do that you can finally have a place to shed water, else the road becomes a drainage ditch!

    If you have access in your area to different types of gravel then build up the road bed (over time if budget requires) with larger aggregate but then always add several inches of good "road gravel" - such as 3/4" and smaller. With the top coat of finer gravel you can work your crowns AND you are less likely to grade up big rocks later.

    I have to agree with the others, that box scraper may be best for you for now. I use a landscape rake with a flip down blade for my road and it works great. But that setup is no good for ripping into hard packed road bed. Once you have the road under control, so to speak, a back blade or a setup like mine works great for semi-annual maintenance.

    Also if you are in the north and have to plow snow, I find it best to really push back the snow banks before spring thaw - it really helps the road from turing to mud in the spring.

    ~paul
    New Holland TC55DA EHSS FWD with 270TL loader and various other goodies........

  10. #10
    Veteran Member daTeacha's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    2,352
    Location
    Funk, Ohio

    Default Re: Dirt/Gravel Driveway Major Maintenance

    What kind of stuff is the shoulder on the drive made of? Is it the result of accumulation of "plow wash" from someone grading the driveway or is it kind of squished up from the driven on places being compressed and the material moving aside?

    The answer to that will tell us what kind of soil you are working with, which in turn may impact what base to use.

    Around here, the soil is a sandy loam. I live in a glacial moraine area with lots of field stones and such overlaying broken up sandstone or shale. My drive goes uphill in an S curve then splits into 3 branches to the garage, barn, and barnyard gate. The base is about 8 inches of large pieces of broken up sandstone, probably 5 inches or more in size. That was compacted by driving the dozer over it. Then a few inches of crusher run material was added -- mixed fines and stones less than 2". This was packed in with a rented vibrating roller. That served well as the driveway for a couple of years of Ohio rains and snows. I added some top dressing of hard dolomite just for looks, but basically wish I hadn't. The crusher run is like concrete and the blue limestone more or less just sits on top where it sticks to the snow when I plow in the winter.

    The back blade will be cheaper than a boxblade, but won't work as well. Still, that's all I use, being too cheap to buy a boxblade. You can manually set it up to run at a pretty good angle, offset to one side, and high on the end that runs over the center of the drive. Drive with your wheels in the ruts and the blade hanging out cutting the shoulder and dragging the material back into the rut behind the wheels. Make some adjustments and do it again. With a few passes you should be able to move a lot of the material now forming the shoulder into the middle to make a crown and at the same time fill in the low spots that become ruts and streams. Do it some more and you can cut a gutter on the side of the driveway to carry the rainwater down to the road. Run your gutter into the county ditch on either side of your culvert and you should be good to go.
    Rich
    300 hours on the DX29, 850 on the JD 240 and too many to count on the Cadet
    Funk, Ohio

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