WORK OF MAINTENANCE - GRAVEL. When a gravel road is first thrown open to traffic, it should be carefully watched and all incip ient ruts and depressions should be filled as soon as formed, either by raking in gravel from the sides of the depression or by adding fresh gravel—in the earlier stages of this work the former is the better, and in the later stages the latter is necessary. The new gravel should be finer and contain more binding material than that employed in the original construction of the road. If the depression is very shallow, it is wise to roughen the surface with a garden rake before adding the new material. It is important that even ruts and shallow holes should be filled as soon as they appear, for they w ill hold water, which will soften the gravel bed and cause the road to wear rapidly. During this stage, all loose stones should be removed from the roadway both for the comfort of trav elers and the good of the road. At, say, every mile a small pile of gravel should be stored to be used in filling depressions.
After the gravel has become thoroughly consolidated, i. e., after the wheels no longer make even shallow ruts, the only care the road is likely to need for several years is to keep the side ditches and culverts free from weeds and floating trash, and to attend to the drainage of the surface when the snow is melting (§ 214).
After a time the gravel will work out to the sides of the road too far, and the center will wear hollow. It will then be necessary to use a scraping grader (§ 142-43) to push the gravel back to the center. In doing this care should be taken not to scrape up the earth with the gravel. A good time to use the grader is just after a rain, when the road is soft and easily scraped, and when the gravel scraped to the center is in the best condition to pack again. The road should never be allowed to wear so hollow in the center as to interfere with the. flow of water from the surface to the side ditches.