Cutting new road and flat pad through pasture

   / Cutting new road and flat pad through pasture #1  

MTGreen

Platinum Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2022
Messages
973
Location
Montana, USA
Tractor
Deere 5220, Ford 1720, Deere Progator 2030
I have a need to cut a new road around 1500' long and make a pad ~80' foot square in a mixed pasture/sagebrush area on a 2-4 degree slope (no trees in the way). The road runs generally across/along the slope. The dirt is a loam/clay mix which I would call mildly rocky. I have not cut a new road or made such a large pad before, but I would like a road with good drainage that will last more than a few years and I would like to do both the road and pad with the equipment I have along with a rented ride-on compactor or maybe a rented excavator if possible.
Unfortunately, in the area I'm located in, hiring a professional involves being deeply gouged and waiting 8+ months. I have been trying to find a rental dozer, but they are also several months out.

Here is what I have available that may be of use:
  • Deere 5000 series MFWD 53hp with 541 loader & 7' bucket ~7000lbs total
  • Gannon/Woods brand professional model 7' box blade with hydraulic rippers and hydraulic top link ~1500lbs
  • Bosch laser transit
  • Have smaller backhoe but can rent excavator if needed/useful
  • Rented ride on compactor
For the vegetation removal, I have the following:
  • 5' bush hog
  • 5' flail mower
  • 6' 3pt spring harrow
  • 8' towable heavy spring harrow
My understanding is that the road running across the slope is going to be a totally different animal than the pad as the pad will need to be cut into the slope.
I also understand that I don't own "earth moving equipment" and my 8500lb 53hp package is going to take considerably more time/effort than an 18000lb 100hp dozer.
I don't currently own a scraper blade -just the box blade above.

So far my understanding for the road is to cut the brush down, pull up the roots with harrow and/or ripper, cut in and lay several drainage culverts with gravel at strategic places, tilt the box blade and start cutting the ditches on either side of the road, then adjust tilt to smooth to crown, run the compactor over the road, lay the 3/4 roadbed, compact again, lay the smaller gravel, compact again.

For the pad, my understanding so far is to clear the vegetation as above, then start ripping and pulling the soil in the box and/or in the bucket depending on how loose from the uphill side to the downhill side and repeat until I'm somewhere in the neighborhood of level, then compact and use the laser transit to determine high/low spots and cut/fill/compact as needed.


First off, is this feasible with the equipment I have?
Am I on the right track here?
Any feedback and suggestions from folks that have done this before would be greatly appreciated.
 
   / Cutting new road and flat pad through pasture #2  
"You can do anything you want, it just might cost more and take a little longer"

If time isn't an issue then what you have is good enough to get you what you want. A lot of people seem to get stuck in "gimbal lock" when it comes to making decisions and taking action.

Doers tend to get things done. Talkers get out their cellphones and apps and start posting on internet user groups.
 
   / Cutting new road and flat pad through pasture #3  
You can do it with your existing equipment. I would prefer a back blade with tilt and offset especially for cutting a ditch.
I would highly recommend a good highway fabric be laid down once you have your roadway and pad cut to shape and before any top dressing material is brought in, your gravel will say in place and not gradually subside into the sub base.
This place has a lot of information and materials;
Stabilization Fabrics - Woven
1681908108949.png
 
   / Cutting new road and flat pad through pasture #4  
Gee, when I put my road in, I rented a road grader. Had it done in one day. The total length is also about 1500' with about a 10' elevation--Road to parking area. I did have to snake between a few trees but that worked out better. It allowed me to include water run offs. And if you've ever driven an old grader, you know that's no easy feat. It's all sandy clay and still here after 25 years. A little dampness will hard pack it like concrete but, I still use my back blade to dress it 1-2 times a year. ;)
 
   / Cutting new road and flat pad through pasture #5  
Let's concentrate on the road first. After all, the pad is worthless if you don't have an all weather access road. And the pad is 500% easier to build than a 1/4 mile road.

Since you may get responses from all over the World it's important to keep in mind where you are and your soil type. I'm assuming you get snow? I'm assuming your topsoil is thin? Topsoil defined as dirt with organic material mixed in.

As to elevation change. How much change between the starting point of your road, i.e., where it connects to a public road? Is that change continuous? Or are there hills and valleys?

As to side slope. Is it all the same direction, i.e., left to right when driving from existing road to pad area?

Once we have defined these issues then we all can better offer advice for what's needed. Understanding the spectrum of what is acceptable is huge. For example, you can drive up and down your desired driveway location with your tractor and then tell the rock truck to follow your tracks while spreading rock. Or you can build an elevated roadbed that will never drift snow or allow water to get on top of it.

Now that we have defined obstacles (slopes, drainage, etc.) and your ultimate goals, we can better decide if your equipment is adequate. As someone mentioned, you can do almost anything with any type of equipment if you have the time.

During this discussion, remember this, "a road without a drainage ditch is a drainage ditch". :)
 
   / Cutting new road and flat pad through pasture #6  
Gee, when I put my road in, I rented a road grader. Had it done in one day. The total length is also about 1500' with about a 10' elevation--Road to parking area. I did have to snake between a few trees but that worked out better. It allowed me to include water run offs. And if you've ever driven an old grader, you know that's no easy feat. It's all sandy clay and still here after 25 years. A little dampness will hard pack it like concrete but, I still use my back blade to dress it 1-2 times a year. ;)
I just finished a 1600' road, all following a ridge with no culverts, elevation change of 25'. Used a modern road grader. Took 16 hours. Windrowed all the topsoil back on each side exposing a 150' wide path of clay. Elevated the roadbed 12-18" creating a 14' wide roadbed. Then pushed the topsoil back creating a constant slope from road shoulders back to field elevation.

That would have taken two months with a 50hp tractor and blade.

Until MTGreen gives us more information we have to assume he is dealing with more weather variations than you are in Texas.
 
   / Cutting new road and flat pad through pasture #7  
:ROFLMAO: I don't remember the model number, but that old grader seemed to take a football field to turn around. And it didn't have power steering. But it sure could push some dirt.
 
   / Cutting new road and flat pad through pasture #8  
:ROFLMAO: I don't remember the model number, but that old grader seemed to take a football field to turn around. And it didn't have power steering. But it sure could push some dirt.
A Grader is a very specific machine. Especially the old rigid frame ones like you ran. As they modernized they became much more flexible in their use. For example, the turning radius of a modern grader is 23ft 8in.

To build the road I mentioned above I had to move approximately 500 cu yds of compacted topsoil, twice. I had to move approximately 700 cu yds of compacted clay.

The tractor box blade the OP mentioned will possibly move 1/5 cu yd of compacted material with each pass. Approximately 8,500 passes will be required just to move the material. Then the material must be spread, shaped and compacted. Will definitely be a Summer long project. :)
 
   / Cutting new road and flat pad through pasture
  • Thread Starter
#9  
Doers tend to get things done. Talkers get out their cellphones and apps and start posting on internet user groups.
Doer with enough information to be dangerous is where I'm at right now and I'm not interested in doing this twice.
The whole point of the forum is trying to learn from the experience of others. And to point out the obvious, you're also posting here
 
   / Cutting new road and flat pad through pasture
  • Thread Starter
#10  
Let's concentrate on the road first. After all, the pad is worthless if you don't have an all weather access road. And the pad is 500% easier to build than a 1/4 mile road.

Since you may get responses from all over the World it's important to keep in mind where you are and your soil type. I'm assuming you get snow? I'm assuming your topsoil is thin? Topsoil defined as dirt with organic material mixed in.

As to elevation change. How much change between the starting point of your road, i.e., where it connects to a public road? Is that change continuous? Or are there hills and valleys?

As to side slope. Is it all the same direction, i.e., left to right when driving from existing road to pad area?
Thanks for the detailed response!

This is mountainous western Montana, about half loam half clay with a mild-moderate number of rocks, most 6" or less on the long side. Topsoil ranges from 2-6" thick. Yes to snow, 50lbs/square ft snow load roof ratings and 48" frost line.

Road runs across the gentle slope north/south with east side slightly higher than west throughout. Road elevation change are all gentle slopes up ~4 feet first 500 feet along, then down ~6' next 500 foot, then up maybe ~8' last 500ft.

There is one existing drainage canal about 4' deep x 12' wide that it will cross over perpendicularly (runs downhill to west) at the 500' mark. I'm planning on digging out the bottom maybe 6 ", laying gravel, placing a 15" 20' long galvanized culvert at a 5 degree angle downhill, adding more gravel, then compacted fill with the road running over.

My goal is to make a driveway that is going to hold up to the snow and rain with min-moderate maintenance for years to come
 
 
Top