Gravel Roads

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Truck Dumping Gravel

The Shiawassee County Road Commission (SCRC) maintains 486 miles of unpaved roads. Gravel roads require foresight, experience and sufficient funding to maintain.

Each season poses unique challenges for maintenance efforts on unpaved roads.  Frozen roads are too hard and cannot be graded.  In the spring, roads thaw and become saturated with moisture. Aggressive maintenance during the thawing period can make muddy conditions worse. Due to the weather challenges, most maintenance occurs during the summer and fall.

Maintenance Services SCRC provides:

  • Grading, Shaping & Patching
  • Dust Control
  • Drainage Maintenance & Improvements

Gravel road maintenance is weather-dependent, therefore SCRC does not have a firm schedule. Grading can cause damage when roads are too wet. If the roads are too dry, dust can become a hazard for motorists and neighboring property owners. Typically, the SCRC grades the road after winter to shape and reclaim loose stone from the edges of the roadway from winter plowing. Roads will be graded again before each brine treatment (spring and fall) and graded once again to get them ready for winter.

We can and do try, but spring poses its challenges. As temperatures warm, what was once frozen turns soft and unstable and will remain this way until the moisture evaporates from the road bed. The best cure is warm, dry temperatures and a good wind. Adding gravel to muddy roads has little effect because the gravel mixes with the mud and creates more mud.

In the spring, it usually takes us 5 -6 weeks, once the weather allows, for us to grade every mile of gravel road in the county.

Dust control, as with all gravel road maintenance is weather-dependent, therefore SCRC does not have a firm maintenance schedule available.

During the dry summer and fall months, usually May to October, our crews can help stabilize gravel roads by applying brine (a salt/water mixture) to the road surface.  The application of brine decreases dust and attracts the right amount of moisture to help keep the road together.

Gravel roads receive two brine applications per season (May and July). The number of brine applications are determined and paid for each year by each individual township. The SCRC schedules the rotation of all 16 townships every year so each township is never first or last every year.