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#359985 - 12/14/13 02:41 AM How To Build A Driveway
roadwarriorsvt Offline


Registered: 03/09/11
Posts: 621
Loc: Wahiawa, HI
I've Googled but haven't really found exactly what I'm looking for. I read somewhere on here, someone(s) gave some good details on how to build a driveway, starting with a good base. Rather than just dump some finer gravel over some larger gravel, anyone got some advice on building up a crown? Building a driveway to access my property will be the first step of establishing infrastructure. I'd rather do it right than do it fast. Thanks in advance.

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#360000 - 12/14/13 10:15 AM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5178
Loc: SE Kansas
I'm not an expert by any means but will relay what 40+ years of farming experience building various roads to fields and bins has taught me.

So much depends on what you have to start with. In our case we have a foot (give or take) of topsoil over impervious clay.

Another thing that is important is what kind of traffic is expected on the road.

For a narrow small road to our pond that mostly a Polaris 4 wheeler drives on, I just scattered some AB3 (inch crushed calcium rock with all size fines left in it).

Where we have heavy semi truck traffic going to and from our bins we srtip off all the topsoil down to clay, add a layer of 4-6" diameter rock with fines, then 2" cleaned lateral rock (like used for septic system drain fields), then top with AB3. We end up with about a foot total of rock. That is in our most sever traffic areas where heavy trucks are traveling repeatedly year round.

Other roads with various loads and seasonal use get something in between those two extremes. For a road that pickups travel on mostly we might just put down 2" cleaned lateral rock, then AB3 on top. The bigger rock keeps the finer stuff from disappearing into the topsoil.

If it is in a flat area with runoff we might make ditches on each side to keep the water away. If there is natural drainage just make sure the gravel either is above surrounding soil or flat so the water will run off and not pond.

If you have mostly rock to begin with underneath, or if your traffic load will be light, not nearly so much might need to be done.

"Around here" if we just put gravel or AB3 on top of the topsoil, it will quickly disappear into the soil if there is any kind of traffic with any kind of weight traveling over it. Go SE of here into the Ozarks, and they are mostly rock underneath and they have to do a minimal amount of topdressing to make their roads sound.

So it all "depends" on what you have to start with and what you will be driving over the top.
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#360017 - 12/14/13 01:05 PM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: snrub]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Putting down a layer of larger rock (even railroad ballast) and driving over that for a while to pack it into the ground is a good idea. If it's in the budget, I'd strip off the topsoil, lay down geotextile fabric, then start with the stones, compacting them in as you go. Putting drain tiles in any soft damp areas of the road, but put them 24" below grade or heavy vehicles might collapse them.

http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/gravelroads/sec1.pdf

I also heard that you can buy the road felt thru the USDA Soil Conservation Service. Check with them too.
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#360019 - 12/14/13 01:15 PM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: esshup]
roadwarriorsvt Offline


Registered: 03/09/11
Posts: 621
Loc: Wahiawa, HI
snrub, thanks for that informative reply.
esshup, from the articles I've found using Google, many state that the road felt or geotextile materials are worth their weight in gold, going a long way to keep the larger rock base in place.

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#360031 - 12/14/13 05:01 PM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5178
Loc: SE Kansas
We also do as esshup says about driving over the big rocks befor putting the smaller stuff on top. Some we have left up to 6 months and driven over it before top dressing it with the final smaller rock layer. We also try to do this on new building sites.

I have never used the fabric but I bet it would be good. What often happens is most of the road ends up good but will have a few spots that "break through" and create a mud hole that has to be re-filled. I bet the fabric would help with those soft spots.
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#360038 - 12/14/13 07:06 PM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
DonoBBD Offline


Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 1952
Loc: Ontario, Canada, Eh.
What we do here in Ontario to make a nice drive is push the top soil out to the left and right of the drive. This will be used later for sloped grade to both sides of the drive. When down to good dirt. (good dirt here is heavy clay with no mixed top soil) If you run into to soil mixed with the clay keep digging this out. 90% of the time this will be your soft spots.

What works the best and uses less aggregate is using stone that is not round. Round stone will not bridge or pack tight. It cheep and easy to find is recycled concrete at 4" medium for the base. Run about 8"s of this 99% of the time this will be the amount of top soil you will push out. Then run 3-4"s of A gravel on top. Make sure there is some clay or screenings with the A gravel so it will pack as well.

Use the top soil you pushed out to grade the side of the drive to nice and even slopes so you can cut the grass with a mower.

The very next year you may need to put another layer of A gravel on and every five years after that or so depending on how much you grade and work the road. If you grade it allot it will take more gravel. I have no idea where it gos but it just keeps taking it the more you work it.

Grade a nice crown to it so the water will run off it and you will limit the pot holes you end up with. When you can't get a crown on the gravel when working the drive you will get the pot holes and it is getting time to top it up again.

Biggest thing to remember is use sharp jagged stone and it will pack tighter. I personally love to top dress with recycled asphalt gravel. You can run some diesel on it in the hot summer work or grade the drive and it will reactivate and pack like asphalt. It looks good too.

Cheers Don.
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#360040 - 12/14/13 07:41 PM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
gully washer Offline


Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 329
Loc: Texas
Like snrub says, it depends on what you have to work with; type of top soil, topography, type of traffic, etc. If your property has a deep layer of sandy topsoil you may not have to do anything, other than drive on it. It will pack hard, yet drain well when wet,(like driving on a beach) whereas, if you have an exposed surface of slick clay, you will definitely need to build a crowned road with topping.

Topping commonly used around here (and I assume, Georgia) is inexpensive crushed limestone. The local oil and gas well sites use it on their access roads. Its sharp jagged features, and lime content allows it to bond well with a clay base, creating a hard shell, and it lasts a long time.

Check out your neighbors' driveways, whose conditions are similar to yours, and see what works for them.

Also, if your road descends a slope, it's better for it to zigzag, or be curvy, rather than running straight down the slope. When the path is straight, the descending water accumulates and gains velocity on its way downhill, thus creating more erosion, whereas, a curvy downhill path sheds water quickly at each curve. If you have no choice, and have to go straight downhill, you can carve some diversion/deflection ditches on either side, at intervals, throughout the downhill course, but, curvy is better.

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#360085 - 12/15/13 11:51 AM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
roadwarriorsvt Offline


Registered: 03/09/11
Posts: 621
Loc: Wahiawa, HI
Thanks for all the good advice. I've got more useful information here than in reading dozens of article found on Gooogle that don't really apply to my particular situation. Thanks guys.

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#360094 - 12/15/13 12:23 PM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
If running the drive downhill, you can also cut in an angled swale at intervals into the driveway to divert the water to the ditch on either side. That will help stop the water from running down the driveway and get it into the ditch before it starts to wash out the road.

There is a term for it, but I can't remember it right now.

One place that I hunted at in Colorado sold a piece of land and gave them access rights. The dozer operator that did work at the house site re-graded the access road. It's about 3 miles long, and he really screwed up the road. No crown, sloped slightly uphill rather than downhill (holds rather than sheds the water now) when sidehilling, and the road now is a rutted, muddy mess. A road that was just cut into the hillside, but that drained well and wasn't rutted is now dangerous to drive on when there's snow and ice because of the ruts. It's easy to high center a truck, and if you slip into the frozen ruts with snow on the road, the only option is to continue on the road until the rut that you're stuck in flattens out. No way to drive up and out of the rut.
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#360269 - 12/17/13 06:45 AM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
Brettski Offline
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Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6905
Loc: Illinois
My excavator prefers to use a product dubbed "oversized" from the quarry. It is basically river rock product that is too big for use as landscape dressing. It comes with the surrounding clay soil from the quarry and compacts like gangbusters when compressed by traffic.

driveway construction page
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#360375 - 12/17/13 09:04 PM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
roadwarriorsvt Offline


Registered: 03/09/11
Posts: 621
Loc: Wahiawa, HI
Great link Brettski. Links on the links were insightful to.

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#360389 - 12/18/13 12:18 AM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
Robert-NJ Offline


Registered: 09/06/12
Posts: 294
Loc: South NJ/Varna Bulgaria
This thread really shows that it depends on what you have to start and work with.We usually get away with adding topsoil/fill to build it up for drainage and get rid of any low spots.After it is compacted we dress the top with gravel or crushed clam shells.In swampy low lying areas people use railroad ballast mixed with fill dirt and compact that.I don't know the technical term for what we call "fill dirt" around here but it's the sandy layer mixed with fine gravel that is just below the top soil around here.Like Gully Washer mentioned sandy soils compact and drain very well.The stuff we have here compacts so well you almost need a jackhammer to break through it when properly compacted and other then in low lying areas it is rare they use anything else.

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#360642 - 12/20/13 04:45 PM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
Hesperus Offline


Registered: 08/28/13
Posts: 202
Loc: Central WI
Like said above, soil types may influence the project. I've done a few in my time. If there is substantial top soil it should be stripped first.

In the case below the native soils were sandy, the drive was at a high point with ditch sloping away so no need for culvert. The stone was 5-7" breaker run. I then had a load of gravel dumped on top and worked level with my Harley rake. The resulting driveway was ready for traffic immediately and semi tires only compacted about 1"



Attachments
P1000060low.jpg (8303 downloads)



Edited by Hesperus (12/20/13 04:46 PM)

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#360650 - 12/20/13 06:38 PM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
roadwarriorsvt Offline


Registered: 03/09/11
Posts: 621
Loc: Wahiawa, HI
Googling "Harley rake"........ Thanks for the info.

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#360651 - 12/20/13 07:02 PM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
Hesperus Offline


Registered: 08/28/13
Posts: 202
Loc: Central WI
The Harley rake is on the back of my tractor in the picture. Basically a power box blade in that the counter rotating drum digs, levels, mixes and compacts. An adjustable top gate keeps material of varying sizes ahead of the drum making it pretty effective at removing debris.


Here is the driveway that we built to our cabin:

Mowed section outlining project:



Stripping the top soil:






Attachments
PA190698.JPG (1612 downloads)
PA190704.JPG (1821 downloads)



Edited by Hesperus (12/20/13 07:09 PM)

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#360652 - 12/20/13 07:15 PM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: Hesperus]
Hesperus Offline


Registered: 08/28/13
Posts: 202
Loc: Central WI
Basing the driveway with "bony clay" fill. This is a gritty sandy material that packed really nice and firm and will not decompose.



Breaker run base layer:



Gravel final layer



Dad on his rider mowing at the project. Dad is no longer with us and it caught me off guard when I came across this picture.



Attachments
PA200688.JPG (2343 downloads)
PA240706.JPG (2946 downloads)
PA250712.JPG (1675 downloads)
PA240708.JPG (1528 downloads)



Edited by Hesperus (12/20/13 07:23 PM)

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#360659 - 12/20/13 08:54 PM Re: How To Build A Driveway [Re: roadwarriorsvt]
roadwarriorsvt Offline


Registered: 03/09/11
Posts: 621
Loc: Wahiawa, HI
Just lost my Dad as well last month. Thanks for the pics. I've got a good idea what I need to do now.

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