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help w/ killer driveway

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by VTDave, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. VTDave

    VTDave Member
    from VT
    Messages: 46

    I plow a few accounts, but it's my own driveway that gives me the most trouble. Help me brainstorm for a cost-effective solution to make it more manageable.

    The driveway is 900 ft long, paved and surrounded by trees. It's a steady 15-20% grade with 2 curves. The pavement is 10 ft wide but only in fair shape. It has wheel ruts and a center hump, making it impossible to scrape clean. It has reasonably effective drainage ditches on both sides. Except, on one of the sharp curves, water will flow (and freeze) on the driveway, because the drainage ditch on its downhill side is occupied by a snowbank.

    When I plow, I end up with uneven results. Some bare pavement, but some ice/hardpack - especially on the corners and where the pavement is "humped" in the center between the wheel ruts. If it rains after snow, I get lots and lots of ice.

    What should I do...to get the most bang for my buck?

    1. Cut down lots of trees (more sunlight = less ice?)
    2. Repave the driveway (to make it smooth and easier to scrape (~$10-$15k)
    3. Replace the worn pavement with hardpack/gravel
    4. Spend a$$loads of money on salt
    5. ?????????

    I'm stumped. Thanks for your suggestions!

    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  2. snowandgo

    snowandgo Senior Member
    Messages: 143

    You could sand it or use cinders, etc.

    Otherwise, I'd be repaving with thicker asphalt. (2.5" binder and 1.5" surface) so you can scrape it clean and prevent future heaving.
  3. tattoofever

    tattoofever Member
    Messages: 36

    if cash is a issue why not take out the bad areas and refill with new hot top the just seal coat the driveway to make it look nic e
  4. VTDave

    VTDave Member
    from VT
    Messages: 46

    What do you guys think of chip-and-seal as an alternative to asphalt in a steep driveway application? It looks a (possibly) cheaper way to restore a flat surface for good scraping.
  5. jgoetter1

    jgoetter1 Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    I'd salt the couple trouble spots.
  6. russ130

    russ130 Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    I'd repave it exactly as snowandgo says that way it will last and you can get a nice clean scrape for years to come. Salt will help but I would avoid sand since that will make for quite a mess in the spring.
  7. Ford445

    Ford445 Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 243

    Where in VT are you Dave?

    If I were you I would ditch the blacktop and have a nice gravel drive. Maybe even a little staymat over the gravel.

  8. BigLou80

    BigLou80 Senior Member
    Messages: 558

    I think its a great way to go about it and save a few dollars, lots and lots of towns around here use chip seal for thier side streets
  9. VTDave

    VTDave Member
    from VT
    Messages: 46

    Ford445: I'm in Norwich, near White River Jct. How would a gravel driveway hold up on a 15-20% grade? I'm worried it would rut pretty fast and I'd be in the same situation (just with some mud tossed in).
  10. GreenManEnvy

    GreenManEnvy Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    My own drive is gravel, about a third of the length of yours, but otherwise fits the description.

    Gravel drives are supposed to be repaired twice a year - Spring and Autumn - but I know if I did that, it'd cost more in materials (I'd do the work on it) than other neighbors have spent getting asphalt done.

    My plan is to take out the trees that are up against the drive. Not so much for letting in more light - the limbs are all up so high, the shading is through the trunks, not the canopy - but to give me a bit of room to work with. Most of them were damaged by the builder and have a high risk of failure. I'm guessing if you're drive is asphalt, you probably have some problems with roots being smothered (or roots damaging the drive), and some careful clearing of trees close to the drive would help in other ways as well.

    On your list, I'd do a certain amount of #1, make a decision between #2 & #3 (but do at least one of them!) and go with #5: Improve drainage around the road, so that the only water on the road is the stuff that falls there, and so the stuff that falls directly on the road gets off the road and away from it ASAP.

    You might want to look into some trail maintenance references for how to deal with the water flow, there's some good information on drainage, grades, and so on.
  11. riverwalkland

    riverwalkland Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    salt/sand combo?
  12. VTDave

    VTDave Member
    from VT
    Messages: 46

    GreenManEnvy: thanks for your thoughtful response. Sounds like gravel could be an option despite the steep slope. I'll look around the area for similar driveways and see whether gravel vs. asphalt vs. chip-seal is working out better for homeowners.
  13. Ford445

    Ford445 Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 243

    Gravel can and should be an option. As long as this driveway is built correctly, with enough material to raise it up and good enough drainage it should be a good driveway. It shouldn't rut or heave if built properly.