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Research Reports

Maintenance of Aggregate and Earth Roads


Road maintenance is characterized as the continuing care of the roadway and providing for its intended use until such time as needed improvements are identified and undertaken. Within the scope of recurrent and deferred maintenance activities, opportunities are identified to improve cost effectiveness of surfacing and ditch maintenance and reduce future capital improvements.

The selection of equipment, materials and procedure is either a commitment to long-term transportation system goals or they create future constraints. The author shows how

  • subgrade and base course damage can be detected and corrected while avoiding actions that add costs or merely hide the problems;
  • use of geotextiles may benefit road conditions but interfere with future maintenance;
  • selection of dust palliatives may either increase or decrease future costs;
  • basic equipment types and limitations affect maintenance prescriptions;
  • good operating practices improve production and protect equipment;
  • some historic practices increase the risk of equipment damage;
  • drainage affects road stability and serviceability;
  • to reshape or smooth blade surfacing and clean roadside ditches;
  • an effective maintenance management system helps identify and prioritize needed improvements. Planning, scheduling and performing roadside ditch, travelway and shoulder maintenance requires knowledge and expertise to be successfully and economically accomplished. Basic maintenance approaches and concepts are suggested and new considerations proposed for aggregate, earth and native surfaced roads.

  • Date Published: June, 1987
  • Publication Number: WA-RD 144.1
  • Last Modified: June 17, 2007
  • Author: Robert D. Strombom.
  • Originators: Fujiki and Associates, Inc.
  • # of Pages: 81 p., 4,242 KB (PDF)
  • Subject: Aggregates, Aging (Materials), Base course (Pavements), Cleaning, Cost effectiveness, Composite roads, Deterioration, Ditches, Earth roads, Drainage, Dust control, Geotextiles, Grading (Earthwork), Highway maintenance, Maintenance equipment, Maintenance management, Manuals, Planning, Procedures, Rehabilitation (Maintenance), Roads, Roadside, Strategic planning, Subgrade (Pavements), Wear.
  • Keywords: Aggregate, base, blading, damage, ditch cleaning, drainage, geotextiles, goals, grading, maintenance equipment, maintenance management, objectives, palliatives (dust), planning, scheduling, stabilization, subgrade.
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This abstract was last modified April 29, 2008