So You Want To Manage Your Own Private Road? Read This First

The moment has finally arrived when you've decided to put a private road on your property, either on your own or in collaboration with others. If you have a very large property or you need to provide your vehicles with a smooth, clean road surface, a project like this may prove necessary, or at least highly desirable -- and since it's your property, you can do whatever you want with it within local ordinances and zoning laws. But with great freedom comes great responsibilities, from correct installation to occasional roadway repair. Here are some things you need to consider before you call in the contractors.

Drainage

A roadway that can't drain properly not only becomes a minefield of potholes in very short order, but it can also create hazardous flood conditions for anyone trying to cross it or drive through it. Perhaps the most critical consideration to ensure decent drainage is giving the road a "crown," an elevated center in relation to its shoulders. This allows water to drain away from the road instead of pooling. Of course, that water still has to be collected or absorbed after it runs off, so at the very least you'll need to construct ditches or ravines that carry the water toward the nearest water or into soil that can accommodate it. Line these ditches with rocks to minimize the amount of water that soaks directly into them. 

If you need more runoff control options than a simple ditch can provide, then your contractor may have to build a series of culverts underneath the road bed. Culverts are pipes that direct the runoff in whatever direction makes the most sense for the roadway's overall drainage efficiency. It's a good idea to overdo these culverts a little in terms of size -- you want plenty of margin for error, as opposed to a culvert that will constantly be overwhelmed by its water and debris load.

Maintenance

Once you've gotten your private roadway installed, it's up to you (and whomever else may be assuming joint responsibility) to take care of it. Preventative maintenance is always the cheapest and easiest way to keep your road looking good and providing a safe, functional surface in all kinds of conditions. Water, automotive fluids and other liquid solvents are the primary enemy of asphalt roads, for instance. The easiest way to prevent these substances from creating cracks is to spray your asphalt road surface with a protective seal coat periodically. Proper design helps too, of course, so make sure your roadway is draining well. Shovel snow and slush off of the road if you're subject to winter blizzards -- but go easy on the salt, which can have corrosive effects on roadways.

Repair

Despite your best efforts, your beautiful new roadway will inevitably require repairs sooner or later. Cracks are a common occurrence, for example, due to years of repeated stress, shifting ground, and exposure to the elements. Little cracks in a concrete road usually don't require repairs, but once the crack reaches half the depth of the concrete, you need to get them filled with a combination of mortar and epoxy. Cracks in asphalt are more serious because they contribute to the speed of the material's deterioration. A substance called crackfill can be poured right over the cracks, providing an effective asphalt repair solution for years at a time.

Potholes are the bane of everyone who has to travel an asphalt road, whether it's a little private road or a major city artery. Fortunately, patch mixes can fill a pothole quickly and effectively. The simplest method, known as "throw and roll," involves dumping the patch mix into the hole and rolling over it with heavy equipment to flatten it out. But if you want a better-looking, more permanent solution, you'll need to have your contractor like Bituminous Roadways, Inc. cut out that section of asphalt using even lines before filling it and compacting the patch mix.

Owning and operating a private road isn't always a smooth journey. But if you understand the potential issues and are willing to make the necessary commitment, you can enjoy a beautiful, convenient roadway that genuinely enhances your property. Just make sure that your roadway repair technician has a sterling reputation and can give you good answers to all your questions before you break ground. Good luck!

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