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Thread: Dealing with steep driveways.

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    Senior Member nedly05's Avatar
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    Dealing with steep driveways.

    We are dealing with a very steep driveway, it is 12+% but only about 100 feet long at the steepest part. I have coarse crusher run on it right now, and I have not had any trouble myself getting in and out with my dump truck, and the well drillers had no trouble, but the concrete guys are having an awful time. I had to pull them in with the 490, and then they set up a trailer pump and pumped the footers from the bottom of the hill. I am wondering about the long term with this driveway. I want to pave it, but pavement is tough to plow because it's too smooth. I wouldnt mind concrete because you can control how rough the finish is. Just looking for some insight, thanks in advance guys!!
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    I would do concrete but have it stamped. Looks much better than tar and holds up better in the cold . Plus being stamped it will give you a rough surface for traction. Just my 2 cents.

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    Can you change the location...so you can have a big arc or switch backs? I'm guessing probably not so maybe barrels of sand alongside with curbs to help guide you down in the winter. The grooved surfaces may hold packed snow and make it even worse.

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    Senior Member CascadeScaper's Avatar
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    One thing to remember with asphalt vs. concrete during the winter is that asphalt, given a little bit of direct sun, will melt snow way faster than concrete. I know what you're going to say, winter is winter and it'll snow on top of it again, but at least you'd be working with a clean slate instead of a bunch of ice on top of the concrete. That's typically what happens with concrete, snow will melt but the water never evaporates enough. Then it's a big skating rink. My neighbors driveway is concrete and ours is asphalt, 95% of the time when ours is clear theirs isn't. What about doing a chip-seal setup? Asphalt with aggregate pasted to it. That seems to offer pretty good traction and the plows don't munch through the aggregate too badly.
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    My neighbours driveway is steep and concrete okay dry but if its wet forget it and its a broomed finish. Its a little steeper than 12% thou its tough to walk down it is 200 feet long I don't know what % it is but it has atleast a 10-12 pitch to it. I won't go down it with my truck I run out of braking power.

    I would go with pavement its not as nice looking but it is more "grippy". One problem thou will be the summer time if the pavement is hot and a heavy truck goes up or down it the pavement will ripple. Moreso if its a thin as a crepe asphalt.

    Concrete has its problems one it can be slippery when wet. It gets even slippier because green slime can grow on it. A broomed finish is about the roughest you want to go. If you have any rougher surface it catches all the dirt and ends up making it slippery.

    Concrete driveways last longer and look better also less chance of sliding down the slope.

    Most driveways here are dirt but more and more are going to concrete as its cheaper than asphalt. The problem with concrete driveways is your taxes go up. The gov't classes a concrete driveway as a perminant fixture,

    Last thing you could use as Cascadescaper says use chip seal its cheaper and will seal the surface till you decide what to do. Chip seal isn't nice looking either but it helps seal the surface. It will eventually bust up.

    Steep driveways is a regular nuisence for me but nothing I can do about it the easy building lots are long gone. Now its at the point if a excavator can walk up the slope without slipping you got a driveway. The redimix trucks and concrete pumpers have troubles here too. Loaded concrete trucks can spin wheels climbing some of these driveways.

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    Senior Member Grader4me's Avatar
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    My two cents...Chipseal would be okay if your driveway was level. Obviously you're going to have to use salt in the winter time, so I don't think the chipseal would last very long before it would start to break up.
    I also agree with the other posters comparing concrete to asphalt. I know of a couple of driveways that are comparable to what you have, and they have asphalt. They keep it well salted in the winter and the driveways hold up really well.

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    Senior Member rino1494's Avatar
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    12% isn't too bad. The reason the concrete trucks had problems is because they tried backing up it. If they drove up it, the would have no problem.

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    Senior Member nedly05's Avatar
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    Actually you're wrong, it was the guys going in with a trailer to build footers that got balled up, the concrete drivers think they'll make it, yesterday there was no room up there for anything because they had stuff strewn all over so the only way to get it up there was to pump it, it was quite a circus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ford LT-9000 View Post
    My neighbours driveway is steep and concrete okay dry but if its wet forget it and its a broomed finish. Its a little steeper than 12% thou its tough to walk down it is 200 feet long I don't know what % it is but it has atleast a 10-12 pitch to it. I won't go down it with my truck I run out of braking power.
    I hear a lot of horror stories about grades, most of them a bit exagerated. Your analogy of a 10-12 pitch would be an impossible grade to climb, even on foot. That translates to an 80% slope, for reference a 100% slope is a 45° angle.

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    Senior Member biggixxerjim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan View Post
    I hear a lot of horror stories about grades, most of them a bit exagerated. Your analogy of a 10-12 pitch would be an impossible grade to climb, even on foot. That translates to an 80% slope, for reference a 100% slope is a 45° angle.
    I thought 100% was a 90 degree angle??

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    Senior Member LowBoy's Avatar
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    The problem with concrete driveways is your taxes go up. The gov't classes a concrete driveway as a perminant fixture.










    That's so interesting that I had to ask...what do they classify an asphalt driveway as...a mobile fixture? What do they figure...you can "roll up" an asphalt driveway and set it back down if you move? Just wondering...
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    Administrator digger242j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggixxerjim View Post
    I thought 100% was a 90 degree angle??
    When you're talking about % of slope, 1% equals 1 foot in one hundred feet. 2% would be 2 feet in a hundred, etc. It follows then that 100 feet in 100 feet (100% slope) would be a 45 degree angle or as we're used to calling it, a 1:1 slope.

    A 90 degree angle would (or at least could), be an infinite number of feet vertically, so you can't really express it in %.

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    Senior Member LowBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedly05 View Post
    We are dealing with a very steep driveway, it is 12+% but only about 100 feet long at the steepest part. I have coarse crusher run on it right now, and I have not had any trouble myself getting in and out with my dump truck, and the well drillers had no trouble, but the concrete guys are having an awful time. I had to pull them in with the 490, and then they set up a trailer pump and pumped the footers from the bottom of the hill. I am wondering about the long term with this driveway. I want to pave it, but pavement is tough to plow because it's too smooth. I wouldnt mind concrete because you can control how rough the finish is. Just looking for some insight, thanks in advance guys!!



    nedly, I know someone else had already asked this question, but I still wonder, can you possibly change the swing, position, location of this driveway, or are there property line issues holding you back?

    I'm only asking because I did a project here in New York state as recently as last year that forced me to build a 700+ foot long driveway up an unGodly steep parcel. The owner wanted to put his house up on top of this property, and it is shaped like a haystack...literally. It drops 200 feet sharply from the house elevation to ground zero at the property line neareset the state road.

    I ended up doing a switchback, then I established a decent grade for about 150 feet, then had to turn it to the right because of a property line there. I got into a really steep angle upwards, and so I had to dig down into the driveway several feet, creating a "valley" so to speak, to maintain a somewhat consistent grade. Then the inevidable happened...I get into solid ledge. I still managed to get down far enough to find a happy medium,and took the fill I generated from the valley excavation and lost it down the way, which also helped soften the angle, and to this day after all the torrential downpours and freeze & thaw cycles it's been through, the road has it's integrity. Being in shale helped me out drastically, too.
    Having the right tools such as a 320C and a D 5XL made life a lot easier I might add.

    Is it an option for you, if you can't swing the driveway another direction, to dig down several feet and knock off the steepness of the grade?
    "I can break an ANVIL..."

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    I took a guess on what the % of grade it is. It is steep and you do have a tough time walking up or down the driveway. Any loose sand or pebbles and you step on it your on your azz

    I went down the driveway when the previous owners had the house with on of my F-450s and I spun wheels empty on dry concrete. Going down is scary I had the truck in first gear and both feet on the brakes and ready to bail if I got into trouble.

    As for concrete being taxable the gov't considers concrete perminant fixture to the property. It is classed as a improvement where as pavement is non perminant. The gov't doesn't figure asphalt increases the property value so they don't include it in tax accessment.

    Every year around this area a plane does a fly around seeing what new developement in the area is happening. They look for changes if they notice a residential home has a nice bright white concrete driveway they will have a inspector check it out.

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    Senior Member nedly05's Avatar
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    Lowboy: There are other approaches to consider, but it will be very costly, due to the fact that there is ledge to carve through and a large drainage to get over. The ground in that section is nothing but large boulders, it's all manageable, but would be costly. I put some stone dust on it yesterday to tighten it up. The boom truck came and set the forms in the cellar hole, he had no trouble whatsoever, so we'll try it this winter and then possibly next year re route the road if need be.
    I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.

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