Home >> A-treatise-on-roads-and-pavements-1903 >> Advantages Of Good Roads to Forms Of Construction Broken Stone >> Care of the Surface_P1

Care of the Surface

road, ruts, smooth, roads, harrow, rail and holes

Page: 1 2 3 4

CARE OF THE SURFACE. The most important work in maintaining an earth road is to keep the surface smooth so that the rain water will flow quickly into the side ditches. If the surface of the roadway is properly formed and kept smooth, the water will be shed into the side ditches and do comparatively little harm; but if it remains upon the surface, it will be absorbed and convert the road into mud. If all ruts, depressions, and mud holes are not filled as soon as they appear, they will retain the water upon the surface, to be removed only by gradually soaking into the road-bed and by slowly evaporating; and each passing wheel or hoof will help to destroy the road.

There are several machines or devices which are very effective in filling ruts and depressions, and in keeping the surface smooth. Different tools are best under different conditions. These tools and the method of using them will be considered briefly.

Harrow. In the winter there frequently come times when the road is full of holes and ruts, while the surface soil is dry and mellow. This condition occurs most frequently when the ground below the surface is frozen. If at this time a harrow is run over the road, it will fill up the ruts and holes and leave the surface com paratively smooth. This improves the road for present travel, and gives a smooth surface which will greatly decrease the deterioration of the road by subsequent rains. The ordinary adjustable farm harrow should be used, and the teeth should be set to slope well back. The labor required is not great, since a 12-foot harrow can be used, and then a single round is sufficient.

Often there are only a few hours in the middle of the day when the frost is out of the ground sufficiently to permit this work to be done, and therefore it is best for each farmer to harrow the road adjoining his own land (see paragraph 3 of § 46). The work comes at a season of year when the farmer's time is usually not very valuable, and hence the expense is small. This method of treating earth roads has proved very beneficial both in securing good roads and in preserving them.

In the summer, when the roads get roughed up, they can be materially improved at small expense by running over them with a harrow having the teeth down quite flat. If the roads are a

little muddy, this treatment will make them dry faster and also make them much more pleasant to use after they have dried.

Railroad Rail.

In the early spring, just after the frost goes out of the ground, earth roads are usually full of deep ruts. The harrow is not suitable for the work now required. The object is simply to cut off the ridges and fill up the ruts, and thus " break the way " for travel. It is well to break the road early in the season, both to accommodate immediate travel and to hasten the coming of a better condition of the road. It is much more economical to make the road smooth with a machine than to wear it down by travel.

There are many road machines on the market, all of which are most excellent for certain kinds of work to be referred to later, but most of which are too heavy for the conditions just described. Most of the machines are mounted upon four wheels, and of themselves are a considerable load over roads which are only a succession of ridges, ruts, and mud holes; and are heavier and more cumbersome than is necessary for the work now under consideration.

A railroad rail 14 to 16 feet long drawn by two two-horse teams has been used with great success in breaking down the ridges and filling up the ruts. The team is hitched to an eye fastened through the web 2 or 3 feet from the end of the rail. The edge of the base of the rail serves as a cutting edge. A 7-inch steel I-beam is equally good.

When the ground is mellow and loose after freezing and thawing, the steel rail will smooth the road nearly as satisfactorily as the scraping grader (I 142) and much more rapidly, since it cuts a wider swath and since the draft is so light that the teams walk right along. One round trip is usually sufficient for any road. The time when the work is most advantageously done is comparatively limited, and therefore one rail should not be expected to cover too much road. The cost is so small that one can be provided for each few miles of road,—the number depending upon the nature of the soil and the climate. If roads are treated in this way, they will not get so rough; and hence will require less work later with the heavy mad machine.

Page: 1 2 3 4