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Advice for really long private road/driveway

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by asm505, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. asm505

    asm505 Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 3

    We just bought a house on 10 acres that has access by a private road which is about 1100 feet long. My husband bought a plow for the front of his 97 Blazer to remove the snow. One thing I am concerned about is the ice on the lane. It is gravel and since we can't get all the snow off of it the snow that is left is smashed down by us driving on it and from melting and refreezing it is getting icy. Any advice on how to deal w/ that? My husband says that I am worrying too much because it is not flat like the road, that the ice has some texture for some traction due to it freeezing on the rocks. One good thing is that the lane is not steep till you get real close to the house but that part is asphault so we can clear all the snow off of that.

    I have a 2001 Cougar but we bought a second "beater" 4 wheel drive for days when it is bad that I don't want to take my car out. The asphault part of our driveway is like a sheet of ice due to the previous owners over-sealing it. Anytime we get a little bit of snow, my car won't climb it. So the 2nd 4 wheel drive will help out w/ that but now I am worried about the gravel part of the lane getting too icy. Any advice would be appreciated. Sorry this is so long...
  2. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    Have your husband remove the shoes on the plow, and send him out to plow before you drive on the fresh snow.
    My drive is like yours about 200ft of gravel with 75ft of pavement at the house and garage.
    As for the ice you can use salt, sand or Wait for a warm day and scrape it off with the plow.

    How much experience do you have driving on snowy roads?
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2005
  3. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    The only time you will have a real problem with ice is in the spring when temps get well above freezing during the day the only thing that may help would be to spread ashes or sand, salt will just make a mess. The hard pack that forms over gravel will actually make it easier to plow. I've lived on dirt roads all my life so I do know a little about them, lol
  4. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    You really have two roads to plan for - the asphalt and the gravel portions. First, the asphalt. Being fairly steep - that's easy. Use a treated salt, such as Magic Salt. Pre-treat (before it snows) and that will prevent snow and ice from bonding to the surface. It can then be easily scraped to the road surface and another treatment (if needed) for the next snowfall. Using sand on the asphalt will only lead to more problems - including having to clean it up in the Spring. Now, the gravel portion will depend a lot on it's condition and how well it's been constructed and maintained. If there are potholes and washouts, you want to be careful of melting snow, as that will make them worse. If the sides are raised higher than the roadway (called a "false berm"), this will prevent the melting snow from flowing off the roadway, with the resulting flow to the lowest level and the washout in the process. Then your potholes are going to get worse. Gravel roadways should be "crowned" or raised toward the middle at the rate of 1/4 - 1/2 inch per foot. The shoulders should not be higher than the roadway so the water can run off. Using salt on gravel can melt the snowpack holding the gravel together, leading to a muddy condition. Sand will be pushed to the sides and built up, resulting in a false berm.

    If you have a road that's not in good condition to begin with, my suggestion would be to use a sand/salt mixture and plan to repair or rebuild the road in the Spring. Find someone who will do it right - reclaim the material pushed to the sides and build up the crown using that material. If all they want to do is bring in gravel and resurface, keeping looking. Potholes needed to be scraped down, not filled. Filling a pothole only leads to more problems.

    If you have a road that's in good condition now, my suggestion would be to not disturb the gravel more than you can help. Again, use a salt or treated salt (lightly - just enough to melt the surface ice). Having a well -constructed road, the melt off will run off the side of the road into the ditch instead of flowing down the road creating a washout.
  5. asm505

    asm505 Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 3

    Thanks for your advise. I think next year we are going to consider spending (a ton) of money and paving the gravel portion of the driveway. We brought my car up today and I only had trouble w/ my tires spinning at one spot which was around a turn. We took salt down and spread on that portion because today was around 40 degrees. I think I am just worrying because this is our first winter here and I have never had to deal w/ a long lane before. I am sure we will figure it out as we go. Right now it is just kind of trial and error for us. Thanks for your help.
  6. LINY Rob

    LINY Rob Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    maybe try salting it yourself with a spreader by hand, or consider paying someone just to sand/salt it?
  7. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Don't worry about the snow and ice, I think I know what the problem is: you're just not going fast enough. It's always scarier if you're going too slow. Always drive as fast as you possibly can, I mean really floor it. If it gets a little scary, close your eyes, put it to the floorboard, and when you open them you will be past the scary part. Trust me, this works every time no matter how slippery it gets.

  8. JTW

    JTW Senior Member
    Messages: 137

    you stole my reply!!!! lol
  9. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    LOL, you know as scary as it sounds sometimes that is the only way, you've never had fun till you're going 45mph up an icy hill with 4 wheels spinning and the vehicle turned sideways.... we need a white knuckled smilie!
  10. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Only thing worse is going DOWN an icy hill with the brakes locked up, vehicle sideways and headed to the ditch. I'll take going up the hill any day. At least you have a better chance of getting stopped.
  11. wagonman76

    wagonman76 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    I always shake my head whenever I see a vehicle thats gone in the ditch while going uphill. Wonder how they do it.
  12. PORTER 05

    PORTER 05 Senior Member
    Messages: 449

    well 1st off you better tell you husband to "plow witht he storm", cause if you guys get alot of snow and he thinks hes just going to go out there a push the whole thing in one pass , its not going to happen....we plow a place like that and last season we "lost" it and couldnt keep up witht eh storm, and i had to call in a backhoe to clear it out.
  13. dj&sonplowing

    dj&sonplowing Member
    Messages: 47

    yes i agree with that last reply,, that little blazer wont be able to handle a big wet deep snow too good,, where if you do get a big one,, easier to plow it as its snowing,, i have 6 or so accounts alot like your drive they dont have much problems gettting in and out,, " keep the hammer down" ha
  14. yooper.mi

    yooper.mi Senior Member
    Messages: 154

    My driveway is snow covered with packed snow and ice from mid Nov thru the end of March. You just learn to drive on it not really a big deal.
  15. xengineer

    xengineer Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    My neighbor has a long crushed stone drive. After he plows it he uses his Kubota tractor to pull a rake over the snow and stone. This exposes more snow and when the sun hits it the snow melts. He has a long curved uphill section and he uses no salt or sand. Not sure just how effective this is.

  16. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    Put the best tires you can on your rigs, Stud them, add a little ballest and find something else to worry about.
  17. icebladez

    icebladez Member
    from sask
    Messages: 74

    you could always throw a couple of sand bags into the cougar for weight...............or maybe even the mother in law if you think perhaps it's more appropriate:jester:
  18. MJay

    MJay Member
    Messages: 58

    Don't think the Cougar could cope with my Mother-in-Law, she made Stevie Wonder flinch.:D
  19. icebladez

    icebladez Member
    from sask
    Messages: 74

    whoa stevie wonder..like most of them, they can be regarded as healing prophets..letting some see as never before in more ways than one ;)
  20. bird

    bird Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    I have the same kind of drive way, only half a mile. When the ice is really bad in late winter I call for a truckload of fine stone. The guy spreads it down the drive. that seems to work for me. Also it will help if your husband keeps the snow plowed as far off the road as possible. we average 13 feet a year here and finding a place to put the snow at the end of the season can be tough.