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Need help planning to create/improve a rural dirt road

Discussion in 'Dozers' started by DustyCoyote, Jan 13, 2023.

  1. DustyCoyote

    DustyCoyote New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2023
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    USA
    Hi All,
    Hoping I can get some guidance here. Need to get a dirt road improved and widened. I don't really have any experience with roads or heavy equipment work so just looking for a little base knowledge and guidance.

    I have some land that I would like to use for camping. I need to improve an existing primitve forest dirt road to make the land accessible to a truck with a large fifth-wheel trailer. The path/road that leads to the land is still very flat, but is currently more of a wilderness ATV road. It is about 8 or 9 feet wide and has been roughly graded with a dozer in the past but is somewhat overgrown and become more of a two-track path because of ATV traffic and water runoff. I think I probably want to the road widened to about 15 feet, but would take thoughts/advice if that thinking is possibly erroneous... I'm in the Rocky Mountains so the ground isn't really any kind of dense clay, and there isn't a lot of water. It should all be pretty loose, dry earth with some rocks (I don't expect any really large boulders. there are none that I can see and the road doesn't seem to run through any areas with large rocks.

    I am planning to hire out to someone with a dozer to come in and widen and improve it and have a couple questions about getting that work done.

    I would really like to get an idea of how much time/cost I am looking at for this (the road is about a mile and a half long) but I expect it would be impossible for anyone here to give any kind of an estimate or idea without seeing the land...) I don't really know if this will be 2 days of dozer work, or if it will be 20 days...

    My biggest question for the forum is about a 1000 foot stretch where the road runs through an aspen grove. There are a lot of Aspens lining the sides of the road that will need to be removed to widen the road. Willl a dozer be able to just push through them? Most of them are relatively young/small. Maybe an 8" diameter. It will be a lot of work if I need to cut them all down and remove them.

    Also, any guidance on where should I be looking for an operator to hire out to? I want to be sure to get someone who has a lot of experience on roads so they can do it efficiently and quickly. But more importantly, as they work on the road, I want someone who knows really what needs to be done for the road to be done correctly and work. Someone who understands how to manage drainage, etc.

    thanks for any help!
     
  2. skyking1

    skyking1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2020
    Messages:
    4,439
    Location:
    washington
    you don't need a 15' wide road. The RV will be a maximum of 102" or 8 1/2'. Plan on no more than a 10' surface and widen as needed for sharp corners, or just avoid them if possible. Clear the trees back yes. Room for ditches yes. Make road no.
    The difference between 10' and 15' of grading etc is huge over a mile of distance.

    Let's say the dozer can push down those aspens. What happens with them after they are down? Leave them alongside in a big jumbled mess?
    Go back to my first point, and don't take out trees you don't absolutely need to.
    Find a contractor that builds roads with plans for ditches and drainage, and can show you an example of work or two.
    How much it will cost depends on how much rock and pipe work you need. It sounds like the pioneering is all done.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2023
  3. Coaldust

    Coaldust Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
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    2,496
    Occupation:
    Cargo Tanks, ULSD, RUG, Methanol, LPG
    Location:
    North of the 60
    They charge by the foot in my area. Like a hundo per foot for a 12-14’ wide driveway. #dirtroadlife. It’s not so bad. A little muddy in the winter. A little dusty in the summer, but a Dusty Coyote has no problems with a little dust.

    Welcome to the HEF, Mr. Dusty Coyote.
     
  4. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    Canada
    A contractor with multiple machines might be a good option. If most of the pioneering work is done a grader could do long sections faster and probably better than a dozer but might need a combination of machines. It could even be less expensive having the right machines for the job instead of trying to compromise and do it all with only one machine.
     
    Coaldust likes this.
  5. DustyCoyote

    DustyCoyote New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2023
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    Location:
    USA
    thanks for the response.

    Yeah, You're right about the pioneering. It really is a pretty decent road already. It's a pretty dry area. There are no culverts or ditches on the road now and it stays in pretty good shape with the exception of the one steep (20%) stretch. It is north facing so it stays wet longer and then when jeeps, Razrs, ATVs drive on it, the road develops some pretty good ruts. I plan to crown that area and run ditches beside it to see if that keeps it in better shape. Otherwise though it has stayed in very good shape (other than weeds growing in on it).
    If I were to widen a couple corners and widen the road a little in that aspen grove, I could drive it with my truck and ATV trailer with no problem right now.

    My plan for 15 feet was more for my comfort (and even moreso, the comfort of my wife....). 10 feet would be fine but I wondered if having it a little wider would make it more comfortable and safe to drive (again, with no experience, I'm trying to plan for what I don't know and don't know to expect.) Wold be nice to avoid the extra cost if more expereienced people say I can get away with a 10 or 11 foot wide road.
    I'm planning to widen it as needed around the corners and turns to accommodate the rear wheel tracking of the trailer. I'll also probably have a couple littl turnouts widened at a couple spots. There is a super low likelihood that I'll ever to run into any other traffic that isn't a hunter on an ATV or Razr, but I think it is still smart to add them just in case.

    As for the Aspens, I will try to widen it as little as possible, and thus remove as few aspens as possible, but I will need to remove quite a few. I had planned to just drag them onto a bare spot and then use them for firewood over time. for the holes left by the root balls I thought I would bring in dirt in a dump trailer and just fill them.
     
  6. skyking1

    skyking1 Senior Member

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    washington
    when you widen the track then you tend to wander around the ruts and bumps and try to dodge them, rather than just fix them. Nothing will be wide enough if you are not prepared to fix it. I live on a too-wide private road and deal with this.
     
  7. DustyCoyote

    DustyCoyote New Member

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    Location:
    USA
    I had to buy a tractor for some other work, so I got a rear blade and will likely get a box blade as well for it so I can take care of the road each spring.
     
  8. Tones

    Tones Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Ex land clearing contractor, part-time retired
    Location:
    Ubique
    I'd like to have a go at your job, I have all the experience you require but unless I cross the Southern border I am not allowed in plus I'd be coming from half the world away.:D
     
    balls2go likes this.
  9. DustyCoyote

    DustyCoyote New Member

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    Location:
    USA
    If you were to find yourself down here, would love to have ya.
     
    Tones likes this.