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74 This section provides information on additional road conver- sion projects where roads have been converted from paved to unpaved. Information presented in this section was identified in the literature review, survey, and interviews, and is not presented in the body of the report. ALABAMA Baldwin County converted 1.5 mi of paved road, which was reclaimed, graded, and compacted in October 2011. No com- plaints were received from the public, and the county attri- butes this to a letter sent out âstating that if we left the road as it was we werenât going to be able to plow snowâ (Minnesota County Engineers Association Members Forum 2011). A total of 26 mi of road converted from paved to unpaved by Franklin (20 mi) and Butler (6 mi) Counties in Alabama are reviewed here. In Butler County, the original surface was in poor condition and was converted to an unpaved road by recycling the old surfacing and hauling in new gravel to sup- plement the existing materials. The reasons for the conversion included the high costs of maintaining the road and complaints from the public. The road was converted 2 to 4 years ago (2010â2013) because they felt this was the only cost-effective option. Since the conversion occurred, the road has performed well, the agency has saved money, road has required less main- tenance than anticipated, and there has been no documented increase in vehicle crashes. The county has plans to convert more roads from paved to unpaved. Overall public reactions were both positive and negative, and there has been some pres- sure to repave the road. Outreach efforts were made through the local newspaper and were somewhat successful. ALASKA A quarter mile stretch of road in poor condition was considered in Sitka in 2014 because of safety concerns with cars swerv- ing to avoid potholes while navigating a hairpin turn. The road was converted from poor condition asphalt to gravel, which has increased safety (Woolsey 2014). CALIFORNIA Counties in California have been struggling with convert- ing paved roads to gravel since the 1980s because of funding deficiencies. Many of the counties are considering converting some paved roads to gravel (Associated Press 1980) or have been doing so since the 1980s because of lack of maintenance funds and âincreasing pressure to meet demands.â Caltrans, the state road maintenance agency, converted a 4.5-mi stretch of Highway 175 on Hopland Grade west of Lakeport, California. The asphalt pavement surface was fail- ing, exposing gravel, and there were no plans to repave because of limited funds (Brown 2013). In 2010, the asphalt on 4,000 ft of Sonoma Mountain Road was pulverized along with the top 10 in. of dirt and injected with a hardening enzyme in an experiment by the Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works Department (Taylor 2010). After the winter of 2010, road crews checked on the con- dition of the three sections of Sonoma Mountain Road. Two of three sections, those with a higher amount of ground asphalt, showed significant potholes, likely a result of the enzyme not binding with the asphalt or not drying properly because of rain (Brown 2010). Recommended maintenance included rework- ing the trouble spots and sending out a road grader, as well as encouraging motorists to drive at slower speeds to help maintain the road surface (Brown 2011). IDAHO Idaho has a few counties that have converted paved roads to gravel. Like many states in the West with acres of national forest, Idaho is facing the loss of federal timber payments from the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) and Community Self- Determination Act. The year 2015 will be the first in a long time that Idaho counties do not receive SRS funds. In 2014, Idaho received $28 million in SRS funding, whereas in 2015, the state will receive 25% of the proceeds from federal timber sales, approximately $2 million (Saunders 2015). The impact of the loss of funds will be felt across the state, but particu- larly by road maintenance agencies. The Ferdinand Highway District will suffer an almost 50% decrease in the road mainte- nance budget without SRS funding, resulting in half as much money to maintain the same amount of roadway miles. Based on this reality, the option of converting paved roads to unpaved was discussed at a February 2015 meeting of northern Idaho highway departments (Rauzi 2015). In Nez Perce County, Idaho, a portion of road leading to the airport in Lewiston was constructed atop a closed city land- fill. Seepage caused large ripples to form in the road. The origi- nal paving cost of the road was $32,000. Maintaining the road as gravel, even with three applications of magnesium chloride per year, was found to be less expensive than repaving (Lee 2011). The original asphalt surface was pulverized, supplemented with millings (recycled asphalt from other locations), and compacted to create the new road surface (Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport Authority 2012). APPENDIX E Additional Examples of Road Conversion Projects from Paved to Unpaved
75 INDIANA Numerous counties in Indiana with budget shortfalls have con- verted paved roads to gravel surfaces. Brown County, Indiana, converted an asphalt-paved road to gravel in an attempt to reduce maintenance costs. The budget for road maintenance and repairs was $200,000, which has left the county with a lack of funding. Some roads suffer from issues with drain- age, base construction, and stability, which can be patched only temporarily (The Indy Channel 2012). For the county, it was determined that it makes more sense to convert these roads to gravel and maximize what limited funding the county does have on road surfaces that are more economical to maintain (Lane 2012). In Clay County, Indiana, 2 years of particularly harsh win- ters damaged many chip sealed roads. For this reason, 8 mi of chip seal road were converted to gravel after the county could no longer maintain them because of limited budgets. It cost about $10,000 a mile to maintain a chip seal road, which they could not afford. In addition to this, the county mainte- nance budget has been reduced by about $1 million over the past 4 years. This has led to the loss of five crew personnel and limited equipment funds (Greninger 2012). In Hancock County, Indiana, 11 mi of paved road were con- verted to gravel in 2009. The converted roads are performing well, leading the county to consider converting an additional 3 mi of road in 2010 (Rajala 2010). The countyâs decision to convert a road to gravel is based on annual evaluations of road condition. Once a road has been selected for conversion, additional factors are used in the evaluation, including aver- age daily traffic (ADT) and the number of homes near the road. Historically, roads that are in the worst condition and end up being selected for conversion often were old double seal roads. Roads that have been converted have an ADT of less than 200 vehicles. The county is expecting the practice of converting deteriorating paved roads back to gravel will result in overall cost savings. Estimated construction and 5-year maintenance costs suggest a cost savings of $3,000 per mile for the gravel road. Nearly 19 years ago, Parke County, Indiana, predicted the decline of revenues for road maintenance and formulated a plan to be applied to the Countyâs budget. Based on the plan, 200 mi of paved roads were converted to gravel. Because of this foresight, the county does not anticipate needing to convert any additional paved roads to gravel (Greninger 2012). In Vermillion County, Indiana, about 16 mi of paved road were milled up and converted to gravel, and the county is con- sidering converting more roads that are failing, especially those that are secondary, dead end, or connecting. In Southern Vermillion County, about 1 mi of paved road has been con- verted to gravel, but that number likely will increase if funding and road maintenance budgets continue to decline. The roads being converted are mostly chip seal (Greninger 2012). IOWA In Buena Vista County, Iowa, two road conversion projects have occurred. Both road conversion projects involved 0.5 mi of asphalt concrete in poor condition being converted to unpaved surfaces. The original pavement surface was recycled to cre- ate the new unpaved road. The roads were converted because of maintenance costs and changes in usage patterns. ADT on both roads is 51 to 100 vehicles. The conversions occurred 2 to 4 years ago (2010â2013). At this time the roads are performing well, have saved the county money, have required less main- tenance than anticipated, and there has been no documented increase in vehicle crashes. Public reaction to the road conver- sions from paved to unpaved has been negative. Buena Vista County verbally communicated with the public and deemed these outreach efforts successful. There has been no pressure to repave the roads. In Linn County, Iowa, 2 mi of a farm-to-market road that was a combination of pavement types, including asphalt over concrete, were converted to unpaved. The road was converted because of the cost to maintain the road, complaints from the public, and changes in traffic count and use of the road. The road was an old primary road that was transferred to the county; ADT on the road is 51 to 100 vehicles. When ADT drops below 200 on the farm-to-market road grid, the county will no longer perform seal coating on the road. A second road conversion project in Linn County, Iowa, involved 3 mi of chip sealed road converted to unpaved. ADT on the road is 51 to 100 vehicles, so the county was no longer able to seal coat the road (per stated policy). The county has a dust control program that states roads with ADT greater than 150 vehicles get dust control treatment with chlorides. The road was con- verted because of the cost of maintaining it. For both road conversions in Linn County, the old pave- ment surface was recycled using a scarifier with stinger blades and ripper teethâbecause renting a recycling machine was too expensiveâto create the new unpaved surface. Gravel was hauled in to supplement the existing materials. Linn County has had issues when scarifying the road if they got into the macadam road base. Both road conversions occurred 2 to 4 years ago (2010â2013). The converted roads are perform- ing well, have saved the county money, and there has been no documented increase in vehicle crashes since the conversions. Public reaction to the road conversions has been negative. However, there has been no pressure to repave the road. The county has plans to convert more roads from paved to unpaved in the future. In Louisa County, Iowa, 1 mi of paved road with a chip seal surface treatment in poor condition and an ADT of 21 to 50 vehicles was converted to unpaved. The original pavement surface was recycled and used as the new surfacing material on the unpaved road. The road was converted because of the cost to maintain it, and the conversion was performed 5 or more years ago (prior to 2010). At this time the road is performing
76 well, has saved the county money, and there has been no pres- sure to repave the road. No outreach efforts were made for this road conversion because it affected only a few users who were notified of the decision to convert the road. MICHIGAN Alpena County, Michigan, has converted paved roads into gravel. Although cost was noted as the biggest factor in choos- ing which roads to convert, safety issues because of repeated patching of an asphalt surface also were noted. Improved safety was more easily achieved with regular grading of the gravel roads. No formal process exists in Alpena County for choosing which roads to convert to gravel. Calhoun County, Michigan, converted 2.5 mi of paved surface road to gravel in 2008 and 2009 and expected to con- vert between 15 and 40 mi in 2010. Calhoun County uses the PASER ratings as a measure of road conditions, where a rating of 1 or 2 indicates a failed road surface in need of urgent maintenance and a candidate for conversion. In Cass County, Michigan, Pioneer Street in Marcellus Township was converted from asphalt to gravel. Originally paved in 1987, Pioneer Street had deteriorated significantly and was filled with potholes and failing sections of road. The township did not have the funding to repave the road. Instead regular grading and maintenance of the new gravel surface were used to provide residents with a smooth driving surface (Lerner 2009). In Midland County, Michigan, Shaffer Road was converted to gravel in 2010 because of a lack of funding to continue patching the road. The road was reclaimed as a âlast resort.â In the last 10 years, the county has converted about 8 mi of asphalt to unpaved. Montcalm County, Michigan, has converted a primary stretch of road to gravel. Cost analysis was the driving fac- tor in deciding which roads to convert because the road can be reclaimed and bladed for less money than repaving. In Montcalm County, they hope to limit the number of roads con- verted to gravel in the future, but the decision to convert a road is made as maintenance issues arise. Montcalm County utilizes maintenance cost and road condition as the primary metrics when deciding which roads are candidates for conversion to gravel. MINNESOTA Becker County, Minnesota, considered reverting County Road 118 to gravel in 2011. The asphalt was more than 30 years old and badly deteriorated, with numerous potholes presenting what the county considered a safety concern. With an ADT of less than 200 vehicles, County Road 118 was not a priority, and the County did not have the $300,000 required for full-depth reclamation and resurfacing (Bowe 2011). In the summer of 2014, the asphalt surface of County Road 118 was reclaimed, and a surfaced calcium chloride surface treatment was used for dust control (Becker County Highway Department 2014). In Clearwater County, Minnesota, 1 mi of asphalt con- crete in poor condition was converted to an unpaved road. The road was a narrow gravel road that was paved with bituminous surfacing for dust control because of a detour for an adjacent project. The pavement was underdesigned, but still lasted 10 years. Eventually the road became unserviceable. The county had planned to put another overlay on the road, but it would have made the already narrow road even narrower and therefore a safety concern. For this reason, the road was con- verted to unpaved. The original pavement was recycled, and new gravel was hauled in to supplement the existing materials to create the unpaved road surface. The road was converted 5 or more years ago (prior to 2010) and has ADT of 51 to 100 vehicles. At this time the road is performing well, but pub- lic reaction to the road conversion has been negative, and there has been pressure to repave the road. Mahnomen County, Minnesota, converted two stretches of road to gravel in 2011: County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 15 and CSAH 1. CSAH 15 originally was paved in 1978 from revenue share dollars and had an ADT of 122 vehicles; it also had âa commissioner living along it at the time it was paved. It was an island of pavement surrounded by gravel roads.â By 2011, the ADT was 115 vehicles, and the pavement surface had deteriorated significantly. About 2 mi of the road under- went full-depth reclamation, followed by an overlay of cal- cium chloride stabilized aggregate (Mahnomen County 2011; MCEA Members Forum 2011). In Mahnomen County, Minnesota, 2.4 mi of asphalt concrete in poor condition with ADT of 100 to 150 vehicles were con- verted to an unpaved road 2 to 4 years ago (2010â2013). The original surface was recycled, gravel was hauled in to supple- ment the existing material, and a surface stabilizer was incor- porated into part of the surface layer. The road was converted because of high maintenance costs, and ultimately the decision to convert the road came down to a cost analysis. Documents used in the conversion process by Mahnomen County include the state aid rules for operation changes (state Aid Operation 8820). At this time the road is performing well and has saved the county money. Outreach efforts included a public hear- ing at a County Board meeting, which was deemed success- ful. Additionally, when the road conversion was approved, the county notified affected users. The county felt they were able to pre sent factual information to the public; however, some local residents were unhappy and felt they were getting unfair treat- ment. There has been no pressure to repave. In St. Louis County, Minnesota, a number of roadways have been converted to gravel in recent years. Most of these roads were paved for political reasons when the county had excess funding but often with no base improvements, causing mainte- nance issues as the road surfaces aged. The county did not have
77 money for other options and informed the area commissioner and residents of their plans to convert the roads. Results of the road conversions have been successful, with one road located south of Buhl now safer and able to handle higher vehicle speeds since being converted (MCEA Members Forum 2011). MISSISSIPPI Mississippi is experiencing road damage because of the oil boom in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale deposit located in the southwest portion of the state. Counties are hoping to prepare for the increase in vehicle traffic and the associated impacts before they begin by working on agreements with energy com- panies for infrastructure improvements and road upgrades. The goal is for this to serve as a model for the rest of the state. In Amite County, massive truck traffic associated with the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale deposit has caused damage to the roads. It is anticipated there will be 2,500 18-wheeler loads per well. In the last year and a half, the county has experienced 100% failure of county roads, with asphalt roads deteriorating to gravel. Some oil companies have worked with the county to repair the damaged roadways by providing materials, but the county does not realistically expect reimbursements until drilling companies start seeing profits (Carter 2013). MONTANA The conversion in Lake County involved 4,500 ft of a road with high truck traffic leading to a gravel pit. The ADT for this road segment is 200 to 300 vehicles, and the road was con- verted within the last year (2014). The original surface treat- ment had a double shot of chip seal and was in good condition. The deteriorating surface was ground using an asphalt zipper and replaced at a cost of $1,500. The road was converted because of the cost of maintaining the road, complaints from the public, and safety concerns. The sand, gravel, and concrete businesses that use the road contributed to premature failure of the double shot of chip seal. The converted road is performing well, has saved the county money, and there has been no documented increase in vehicle crashes. Reaction to the road conversion has been both positive and negative. The public was notified ahead of time that the conversion would take place. There has been some pressure to repave, with concerns expressed about dust on the road segment that was converted. There are plans in place to repave the road segment with 3 in. of hot mix asphalt when funding is available, at a cost of $150,000. NEBRASKA In Custer County, Nebraska, many of the roads paved in the 1960s and 1970s have deteriorated. The high cost of repaving led the county to convert many of those roads back to gravel. To seal coat a road would cost the county $15,000, whereas converting the same section of road to high-quality gravel would cost $8,000. For roads with ADT of less than 150 vehi- cles, the county can no longer maintain the road as asphalt. Four sections of road, more than 10 mi, were converted to gravel in 2011, with more conversion projects planned includ- ing in the countyâs 6-year highway plan (McCaslin 2012). In Hall County, Nebraska, many of the roads in poor con- dition that are being converted are from the 20 mi2 that was once occupied by the Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant. The plant is now defunct, and the land is being used for agri- culture. The county is now responsible for the roads. For the converted roads, the old pavement surface is being pulver- ized to create the gravel road. The public has been accepting of the change with the improved driving surface (Keen 2008; World-Herald News Service 2011). In Gosper County, Nebraska, about 1.5 mi of road were converted from paved to unpaved. The original pavement was asphalt concrete in fair condition. The road conversion took place 5 or more years ago (prior to 2010), and the old surface was recycled and used for the new surface of the unpaved road. The reason this road segment was converted was the high cost of maintaining the road because of damage from heavy rains. Repaving was cost prohibitive. The ADT on this road segment is 300 to 500 vehicles. At this time the road is performing well, has saved the county money, has required less maintenance than anticipated, and there has been no documented increase in vehicle crashes. Despite outreach efforts made to convey the cost of asphalt versus the county budget, which were deemed successful, public reaction to the road conversion was nega- tive. There has been pressure to repave, but the county says they would perform the conversion again. In Phelps County, Nebraska, an unknown number of miles were converted from paved to unpaved. The original pavement type was asphalt concrete in poor condition. They ended up removing the old surface and disposing of it offsite and hauling in new gravel to supplement the existing materials on site. The reason the road was converted was because of high maintenance costs, public complaints, and safety concerns. The decision to the convert the road was based on cost estimates for upgrading road pavement versus the cost to change the road to gravel. ADT on the road is 51 to 100 vehicles, and the road was converted 1 to 2 years ago (2012â2014). At this time the road is perform- ing well, has saved the county money, required less maintenance than anticipated, and there has been no documented increase in vehicle crashes. If they do another road conversion, they will utilize the same methods because they worked well. Addition- ally, there has been no pressure to repave. NORTH DAKOTA Because of the Bakken and Three Forks oil formations in North Dakota, traffic is increasing and heavier. In the 1990s, a typical drill rig weighed as much as 90,000 pounds, whereas drill rigs today weigh 110,000 pounds, which is
78 4,500 pounds greater than the North Dakota legal load limit of 105,500 pounds with the correct number of axles. A typical ver- tical well requires about 400 truckloads to drill, and a horizontal well requires 1,150 loads. These are legal loads for well-built paved roads, but to access the pad requires use of county roads that were designed for much lower volumes of single-axle farm trucks. At this time, damage to county roads includes ruts that are 4 in. deep in paved roads and no legislation requiring tax rev- enue from oil and drilling to be earmarked for road maintenance (Minnesota Local Technical Assistance Program 2012). Between 2009 and 2011 in McKenzie County, North Dakota, along North Dakota Highway 1806 north of Watford City, truck traffic jumped from 85 to 545 daily, a 541% increase (Weigel and Bruins 2011). Oil traffic has been particularly hard on the road, even causing a closure to all but local residents in 2011; it also has created safety issues. The road had deteriorated beyond repair with numerous pavement breakups (Shipman 2011). Full-depth reclamation with cement-treated base and an overlay of aggregate and chip seal was used to convert the road to unpaved (Sundeen 2011). The North Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to keep the road as gravel for 1 or 2 years until funding is available to repave (Shipman 2011). In Bowman County, North Dakota, 12 mi of chip sealed road were recycled and incorporated into the unpaved road surface and treated with a dust suppressant. The road was con- verted because of the cost to maintain the road, complaints from the public, and safety concerns. The ADT for the road is 51 to 100 vehicles, and the conversion was performed within the last year. At this time the road is performing well, has saved the county money, has required less maintenance than antici- pated, and public reaction to the road conversion has been posi- tive. The county has plans to convert more roads from paved to unpaved in the future. In MacIntosh County, North Dakota, 2 mi of road with an ADT of 51 to 100 vehicles were converted from a paved road with a surface treatment in poor condition to an unpaved road. The old road surface was full of potholes, so it was milled and reshaped to create the unpaved surface. At a later date additional gravel was added. The road was converted because of high maintenance costs, complaints from the pub- lic, and safety concerns. The road conversion was performed 2 to 4 years ago (2010â2013), and overall the public reaction was positive. At this time the road is performing well, has saved the agency money, has required less maintenance than anticipated, and there has been no increase in documented vehicles crashes. There has also been no pressure to repave the road. The county does not have plans to convert more roads right now but acknowledges that they may need to in the future because of lack of funds to maintain the existing road network. In hindsight, they would have added the gravel prior to milling the old road so that it is mixed well, then add a soil stabilizer, applied water and compaction, but these options were not available at the time of the conversion. In Stutsman County, North Dakota, two road conversion projects were done. The first involved 4 mi of road with an ADT of 21 to 50 vehicles that was converted from asphalt concrete in poor condition to an unpaved road. The second road conversion project involved 9 mi of asphalt concrete in poor condition with an ADT of 300 to 500 vehicles that was converted to unpaved. Both roads were converted because of the cost of maintain- ing the road, complaints from the public, and safety concerns. On both roads, the old road material was recycled to create the new unpaved road surface, and both road conversion projects occurred 2 to 4 years ago (2010â2013). One of the roads, not specified, is not performing well, has required more mainte- nance than anticipated, and public reaction to the road conver- sion has been negative. There has been some pressure to repave, and this may be attributable in part to high average daily vehicle counts, which mandate repaving. At this time the county has no plans for future road conversions. In Wells County, North Dakota, 6 mi of road were con- verted from asphalt concrete to an unpaved surface. The following information provided on this road conversion is limited because of the lack of information passed to newer employees who were not involved in the conversion. The road was converted because of the cost to maintain the road. The original surface was recycled and used to create the new unpaved surface, with additional gravel hauled in to supple- ment the existing materials. This road was converted 5 or more years ago (prior to 2010). At this time the road is performing well, has saved the county money, required less maintenance than anticipated, and public reaction to the road conversion has been positive. There has been no pressure to repave the road. Outreach efforts were made, but no additional informa- tion was provided. OHIO In Ohio, some counties are letting roads passively convert to gravel because of declining budgets attributable to weaken- ing revenue from fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees (Etter 2010). In Coshocton County, Ohio, a 5% decline in road main- tenance resources in 2010 was the first reduction in funding in almost 20 years (Etter 2010). The county noted in the 2013 Annual Report that more roads would be converted and aging bridges would need to be closed unless addi- tional funding was procured for maintenance. Some roads in Coshocton County have been passively converted to gravel, such as County Road 58, for which the county has received complaints from local residents because of safety concerns. The county prioritizes roads and bridges for maintenance based on traffic counts, inspections (both by office staff and an independent consulting firm), road usage, and the type of user serviced by the roadway (Hayhurst 2013). In Ross County, Ohio, Shoemaker Lane was converted to gravel in 2014 because the cost of paving was prohibitively expensive; local residents along the road were grateful the
79 county was able to take care of the potholes (Twin Township Trustees 2014). OKLAHOMA Numerous counties in Oklahoma are suffering because of the economic downturn and facing shrinking budgets for road maintenance. For one county, the road budget in 2010 was down $600,000 from the previous year, a decline of nearly 10%. The trend of declining funds is affecting many counties in the state. In Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, conversion to gravel is considered a temporary solution. The county hopes to resurface roads with asphalt when funding becomes avail- able. Heavy truck traffic and severe freeze-thaw cycles in early 2010 deteriorated the road. Additionally, a lack of fund- ing led to the conversion. Prior to the conversion, the roads were a safety issue (Cameron 2010). In Sallisaw County, Oklahoma, 10 mi of chip sealed road in poor condition with an ADT of 150 to 200 vehicles were con- verted to unpaved 2 to 4 years ago (2010â2013). The road was converted because of the high costs associated with patching it. The chip sealed surface was covered with Â¾-in. crusher run aggregate. The chip seal was left in place to use as base if paving should occur in the future and serves as a water barrier. In another road conversion project in the county, an additional 10 mi of road with similar ADT were converted from chip seal to unpaved. The old surface was recycled and incorporated into the unpaved surface, and new material was hauled in to supplement the existing material. Occasionally oil (MC30 or SS1) is applied to the surface as a dust suppressant and pro- vides dust abatement for 3 to 6 months, depending on the traf- fic. The converted road is performing well. The agency has been able to save money, and there has been no documented increase in vehicle crashes. Reaction to the road conversion has been both positive and negative. Outreach efforts included conversations with the public and were deemed successful. Sallisaw County found transparency with the plan and process works well when communicating with the public. There has been some pressure to repave the converted roads, but over- all the road users enjoy the smooth road, and the road agency no longer has to repair potholes. Sallisaw County viewed this project as a pavement preservation project, focusing on a long- lasting, well-maintained road surface. OREGON Some counties in Oregon are in a particularly desperate posi- tion trying to fund road maintenance. Federal âsafety netâ funding, provided for 12 years as replacement for revenue from federal timber harvests through the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, ended temporarily in 2006, before being included for an additional 4 years in the Emergency Economic Stabilization act of 2008. Two funding extensions later, the payments officially ceased in 2014. Some counties planned for the end of the payments and budgeted accordingly, but others did not and are now operating many county services on an essentials-only basis (Burns 2014). Road maintenance budgets have been affected by this, with many counties leaving staff positions unfilled, performing the bare minimum for pavement preservation and maintenance, and simply stopping maintenance on some roads entirely (OâToole 2007). Because of budget cuts of an estimated $800,000, in Tillamook County, Oregon, roads in poor condition were con- verted to gravel, including two roads: Makinster and Chance (Tillamook Headlight Herald 2010). It would have required more than $1 million to fully address all of the issues that led to Makinster Roadâs poor condition. Because of flooding and silt buildup, the road base had sunk, leading to poor drain- age and constant maintenance issues. Converting the road to gravel allowed for easier grading of the roadway to promote proper drainage and easier rehabilitation from future flooding events (Tillamook Headlight Herald 2007). Chance Road had numerous potholes and was converted to a gravel surface in May 2007 (OâToole 2007). Washington County, Oregon, has a road fund of about $17 million per year because of countyâs large population, which exceeds 530,000 residents. About 90% of the popula- tion lives in urban areas, and the remaining 10% reside in rural areas. The road maintenance budget covers 1,279 mi of road- way, including 250 mi of gravel roads. Historically, the road fund has been split equally between urban roads (620 mi) and rural roads (659 mi), including 413 mi of low-volume roads (Clemmons and Saager 2011). The Road Maintenance Divi- sion utilizes a road maintenance priority policy to determine which roads require maintenance and repaving and when this is needed. Because of funding constraints associated with the road maintenance priority levels, many of the local and low- volume roads did not qualify for maintenance or repaving funds. Voters passed an Urban Road Maintenance District in 1987 and a property tax in 1994 to fund maintenance on urban low-volume roads, but the rural counterpart failed to attain voter approval and funding. The result was that low-volume roads in rural areas deteriorated, which was the reasoning in forming the Rural Roads Operations and Maintenance Advi- sory Committee (RROMAC) to provide guidance on these issues (Clemmons and Saager 2011). Flooding and severe weather in 1997 turned many rural roads into a safety issue. As a result many rural roads needed to be rebuilt, but there was a lack of funding to do this. Instead, more than 10 mi of deteriorating asphalt on 12 low-volume roads were converted to gravel. Proposed alternatives to unpav- ing required adjacent property owners to assume the cost for repaving per a countywide policy, both of which were not pop- ular solutions. RROMAC stepped in to mediate the negative public reaction to proposed conversions to gravel and adopted a resolution that 10% of any new road money be earmarked for
80 improvements to rural roads, particularly gravel road upgrades (Clemmons and Saager 2011). Despite the 10% new money policy, funding for rural roads was still limited in Washington County in 2014 (RROMAC 2014). PENNSYLVANIA Some counties and townships in Pennsylvania are testing alter- natives to traditional asphalt pavements, including using road conversions of pavement to gravel to calm traffic. In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Tinicum Township has converted a paved road to gravel to calm traffic, where little to no speeding now occurs. Residents in Tinicum Township can apply for a âscenicâ designation on area roads. The âscenicâ designation means the Township will cease road maintenance, allowing the road to passively convert to a gravel surface. This process has already occurred on two of the four roads with âscenicâ designation, and the township has not paved a road since the ordinance passed in 1989 (Mason 2005; Moore 2005). In Chester County, Pennsylvania, Marlborough Township approved converting a Â¾-mi. section of Wilson Road from paved to gravel, with the intended purpose that the gravel surface would make commuters slow down or avoid the road altogether. Some of the residents along the road said the orig- inal paving took away the character from that section of the road, where horseback riders favor gravel over pavement for riding (Moore 2005). SOUTH DAKOTA South Dakota had converted more than 120 mi of asphalt road surfaces to gravel as of 2012 (Etter 2010; Louwagie 2011). In Brown County, South Dakota, a 2012 study found the county had budgeted roughly one-tenth the funding necessary to pre- serve its road system. The county maintains more than 675 mi of roadâ479 mi topped with asphalt, 195 mi with gravel surface, and a few miles of concrete. The study found that the county should be spending about $10.6 million annually to maintain the road network but was only budgeted $900,000. The study suggested that, at a minimum, 105 mi of paved roads should be converted to gravel to reduce maintenance expenses and pro- vide a better driving surface (Aberdeen American News 2010; Waltman 2012). Because of the significant funding shortfall, Brown County has converted a number of asphalt roads to gravel during the last 15 years. By 2010, county officials estimated that about 25 mi of roadway had been reverted to gravel and projected the milling of another 125 mi. Many of the asphalt roads con- sisted of a thin layer of asphalt, making them vulnerable to rut- ting and failure during wet months or under heavy agricultural loads. Most roads converted to gravel were in poor condition because of large areas of breakup coupled with high water tables, which had caused large pavement sections to passively convert to gravel despite patching efforts (Kadrmas, Lee, and Jackson 2012). In Day County, South Dakota, 7 mi of asphalt concrete in poor condition, pavement with a surface treatment in poor condition, and a combination of pavement types in poor con- dition were converted to an unpaved road. The original pave- ment surfaces were milled, and the recycled material was used as the new unpaved road surface. They found that after mill- ing the asphalt it is important to blade to ensure it is sealed. If it rains, the unconsolidated recycled asphalt can wash away or become saturated on the surface and be difficult to work. Day County found that they need to watch the aggregate size coming out of the reclaimer. Ideally the aggregate is 1 in. or smaller; this will ensure a proper mix and good driving sur- face. The road was converted because of the cost to maintain it. ADT on the road is 21 to 50 vehicles, and the road was converted 2 to 4 years ago. At this time the road is performing well, and the road conversion has saved the county money, has required less maintenance than anticipated, and there has been no documented increase in vehicle crashes. Public outreach included a commission meeting, which was deemed a partial success. The county found that informing the public of actual traffic count data works well when discussing why a road is slated to be converted from paved to unpaved. Public reaction to the road conversion has been positive. There has been no pressure to repave the road. An example of a successful conversion in Day County, South Dakota, is County Road 12-A, which was recycled in 2012 and has been successfully maintained as a gravel road. The road was carefully compacted during the recycle process and did not require any grader maintenance after a harvest that saw 200 trucks per day (Fromelt 2012). In Deuel County, South Dakota, 6 mi of road with an ADT of 51 to 100 vehicles and surface treatment consisting of chip seal were converted to an unpaved road. This road was a recently constructed road that failed because of inadequate base material. The original pavement was recycled with new gravel hauled in to supplement the existing materials and cre- ate the unpaved road surface. The road was converted because of the cost of maintaining the road. The road was converted 5 or more years ago (prior to 2010) with the decision to convert the road based on low traffic counts, cost data, and damage to the road caused by spring breakup. At this time the road is per- forming well, has saved the county money, required less main- tenance than anticipated, and there has been no documented increase in vehicle crashes on the converted road. In Edmunds County, South Dakota, 8 mi of road with a chip sealed surface treatment in poor condition were con- verted to an unpaved road. The original pavement surface was recycled, and new gravel was hauled in to supplement exist- ing materials to create the new unpaved road surface. The road was converted because of the cost of maintaining the road and heavy truck traffic leading to the road failing. The decision to convert the road was made by the Commissioner, with the purpose of saving taxpayer money. ADT on this road is 51 to 100 vehicles, and the conversion was performed 2 to 4 years
81 ago (2010â2013). The road is performing well, has saved the county money, has required less maintenance than anticipated, and there has been no increase in documented vehicle crashes on the converted road. The county has plans to convert more roads from paved to unpaved in the future. Public reaction to the conversion was negative, and there has been pressure to repave the road. In Miner County, South Dakota, 6 mi of road with a sur- face treatment in poor condition was converted to an unpaved road. The original pavement was recycled and used as the new unpaved road surface. The road was converted because of the cost to maintain the road, complaints from the public, and safety concerns. ADT for this road is 21 to 50 vehicles, and the road was converted 5 or more years ago (prior to 2010). At this time the road is performing well, has saved the county money, and there has been no documented increase in vehicle crashes on the converted road. The public was informed of the deci- sion to convert the road but did not seem to care, and overall public reaction to the road conversion has been positive. There was some pressure to repave the road soon after the conversion but not since then. In Yankton County, South Dakota, 2 mi of asphalt concrete in poor condition and a combination of other pavement types in poor condition were converted to unpaved. The original pavement was milled and recycled, and 6 in. of gravel was added to create the new unpaved road, with surface stabiliza- tion incorporated into part of the surface layer (base stabilizer) and topical application of dust control agents. The road surface experienced heaving during freeze-thaw cycles; to address this, drainage tile was used to alleviate groundwater infiltra- tion into the roadbed. The road was converted because of the cost of maintaining the road, complaints from the public, and safety concerns. ADT on the road is 150 to 200 vehicles. The road was converted 1 to 2 years ago (2010â2013). At this time the road is performing well, has required less mainte- nance than anticipated, and has saved the county money. For this road conversion project, no public outreach was con- ducted because of the immediate safety issues with the road, but in the future they would like to be able to give the public notice ahead of time. There has been pressure to repave the converted road. TENNESSEE In Franklin County, Tennessee Ridge Road was converted back to gravel in 2013 because of maintenance costs and increasing safety concerns. The annual county budget for road maintenance of about $2.7 million was not enough to ade- quately keep up with the condition of the roads. The county has more than 600 mi of asphalt roads and 80 mi of gravel roads to maintain on this budget. The county acknowledges that the longer it waits to perform preventative maintenance on roads, the more expensive it will be to bring that road back to serviceable condition as the roads continue to deteriorate (Shang 2013). TEXAS The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) converted 12 mi of road from paved to unpaved in two separate projects. One road conversion project, in which 8 mi were converted, involved a road with a surface treatment in good condition being converted to an unpaved road. Reclaiming equipment was used to remove the old surface, and the milled material was either disposed of offsite or recycled into surfacing for the unpaved road. New gravel was hauled in to supplement exist- ing materials, and the top layer was stabilized with cement and covered with an asphalt emulsion for dust control. The road has ADT of 300 to 500 vehicles and was converted because of the high cost to maintain the road, complaints from the public about the quality of the road, and safety concerns. The road was converted 1 to 2 years ago (2013â2014). To convert the road, they utilized expertise from research centers and staff engineers. Outreach efforts to the public included a press release to get the information out, but they were less success- ful in trying to justify why the road conversion was being com- pleted. There has been pressure to repave, and in this case, there was discussion of repaving the road once oil and gas traffic reduces. The road is performing well and has required less maintenance than was anticipated. The second road conversion project conducted by TxDOT involved converting 4 mi of road in poor condition to unpaved. The original surface was recycled using existing equipment, new gravel was hauled in to supplement the existing material, and recycled material was well mixed with the new gravel and tightly bladed then treated with an asphalt emulsion (HFRS-2 emulsion or SS1) for dust control. The district and depart- ment ultimately made the decision to convert the road based on high maintenance costs, complaints from the public about the condition of the driving surface, and safety concerns. This conversion occurred 1 to 2 years ago (2013â2014), the road is performing well, and TxDOT has realized cost savings from the conversion. Additionally there has been no observed increase in vehicle crashes where the road conversion occurred. Overall the publicâs reaction has been positive, but there has been pressure to repave. Although outreach efforts occurred, no details were provided. This road segment has since been rebuilt using the existing reclaimed surface for the subgrade, 6 in. of unbound limestone was added, and a chip seal was placed on top. (Note that the TxDOT is one of the few DOTs responsible for all roads in the state.) A recent NCHRP synthesis identified agencies in Texas that have converted both asphalt and concrete pavement surfaces to gravel. The purpose was to save money on maintenance costs for municipalities with funding shortages (McCarthy et al. 2015). Eagle Ford, Texas, is a section of Dallas. The Eagle Ford Shale Play area is a region bounded by San Antonio to the north, Laredo to the west, Corpus Christi to the east, and the Rio Grande Valley (U.S.âMexican border) to the south. The Eagle
82 Ford Shale Play area has a large amount of oil extraction. In July 2013, the TxDOT announced plans to convert more than 80 mi of road to gravel in six countiesâLive Oak, Dimmit, LaSalle, Zavala, Reeves, and Culberson (Floyd 2013). Funding shortfalls coupled with the extensive traffic and road surface damage from traffic related to oil extraction led to the decision the convert the roads (Batheja 2013b). Roads that were built for 90 vehicles per day (vpd) but experienced 90 vpd plus 1,900 trucks experienced damage that required frequent patching. The road issues were presented to legislators and county officials at a meeting to dis- cuss options of converting some roads from paved to unpaved (Batheja 2013a). Previous estimates from TxDOT put the cost of reconstructing damaged infrastructure at around $4 billion, with about half earmarked for repair of county roads and city streets (Batheja 2013c). Because of the extensive damage to roads and limited funds, TxDOT said that converting the roads to gravel was the only other option to provide a safe driving surface. The Texas Legislature found an additional $225 million to address road damage from the energy sector. The funds were not enough to cover all needed repairs and could not be used for many of the roads selected for conversion because they were ineligible for federal funding (Floyd 2013). Safety was a primary concern on the deteriorating roads. A report from the Texas Department of Public Safety found an increase in vehicle accidents, specifically those involving com- mercial vehicles. In the Eagle Ford area, accidents involving commercial vehicles increased 470% over the 2-year period between 2009 and 2011 (Batheja 2013c). Converting the roads to gravel effectively reduced speed limits from 70 to 30 mph, which is hoped will lead to improvements in safety and reduced crash rates (Batheja 2013b). UTAH In Tooele County, Utah, the summer of 2013 saw more than 13 mi on two roads converted to gravel. The two roads, Faust and Lookout Pass, were originally treated with an asphalt- type product provided at no cost to the county by Utah Power and Light (Gillie 2013). The applied product was classified as hazardous but was rated for application on road surfaces. The road being converted was paved but had no base or subbase. The paved surfaced was mixed with asphalt to bind it and then put it down. The new surface was expected to last a few years, and it did but is now failing (Christensen 2013). The lack of base preparation had caused continuous maintenance problems on the road, including potholes, and the road was not safe. It was determined that milling the road was the most cost-effective way to improve safety (Gillie 2013). Filling in the potholes would cost about $92,000 each year, and paving the road with sufficient base preparation was estimated to cost $1 million per mile. The county could not afford either option (Christensen 2013). Initially, residents were not happy about the road conversion and informed the mayorâs office in the nearby town of Vernon, Utah (Gillie 2013). There were concerns from the public and mayor about tearing up a paved road, wear and tear on vehicles, and possible reduced safety on gravel roads. Safety concerns mentioned included rolling vehicles because of lack of knowl- edge of how to drive on a gravel road, reduced visibility from dust, and decreased traction on the gravel surface (Christensen 2013). To address these concerns, the county looked into apply- ing magnesium chloride or some other product to the gravel to keep the dust down (Gillie 2013). The county says the roads could be maintained to a higher level of safety as a gravel surface as opposed to an asphalt surface filled with potholes (Christensen 2013). After the conversion, some residents were surprised at the good condition of the gravel road, stating that it was a better driving surface. The county noted that proper maintenance will be key to keeping residents in the area accepting of the new surface (Gillie 2014). WASHINGTON The Washington State Transportation Commission conserva- tively estimated that a minimum of $175 to $200 billion in fund- ing was necessary to address the stateâs transportation needs in the next 20 years. The Washington Transportation Plan 2030 identified the primary underlying issue facing the stateâs road- ways as an aging infrastructure system requiring maintenance and preservation far exceeding available funding. In addi- tion, the primary source of funding for road improvements in Washington comes from fuel taxes, which have declined as vehicles improve fuel efficiency and people drive less. The transportation plan noted that this environment of delayed preventative maintenance and lack of funds had led to many roads passively converting to gravel (Washington State Trans- portation Commission 2010). In King County, Washington, a reduction in tax revenue to rural areas has led to the passive conversion of many roads with low ADT and limited winter maintenance operations (Kelleher 2011; Lindblom 2013). County officials projected in 2013 that more than 72 mi of road would fail because of lack of funds and that delayed preservation efforts would end up costing the county more in the long run because more roads would need to be fully reconstructed (KING Staff 2013). ONTARIO, CANADA The town of Bracebridge, Ontario, converted three roads from paved to unpaved in 2014 as part of a 2-year pilot pro- gram to see if the practice could help reduce maintenance costs and improve safety. Patching had become cost prohibi- tive on the roads, with potholes being the primary issue. The mayor approved the road conversions and aided in public outreach (Bowman 2013). Initially, some residents were concerned about the project, but once reasoning for the con- version and the outcomes of the conversion were explained,
83 most of the public understood. The conversion project cost about $340,000, whereas repaving would have cost about $100,000 more (Driscoll 2014). The town is collecting feedback from residents and will continue with the project if public sentiment is positive. If the feedback is negative or the town has problems maintaining the gravel surface, the roads will be in a condition to easily repave, and the town will not have lost any money from the test (Bowman 2013; Driscoll 2014). SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA In the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, a number of roads have been converted from paved to unpaved. Nearly 13 mi of Highway 355 were converted to gravel after the road deterio- rated because of heavy truck traffic and a high water table in the area. The road was a thin membrane road with no founda- tion that was milled and supplemented with gravel to create a base and treated with dust suppressant. The goal of the con- version was to create a safer driving surface for the travelling public. Segments of other highways were also converted to gravel because of similar safety issues. Comments from the public suggest accidents have increased on one of the high- ways since the conversion, but this has not been validated with a study. Saskatchewan has no official policy to convert paved roads to unpaved, but numerous conversions have occurred because of safety concerns arising from deteriorated road conditions (Legislative Assembly of SaskatchewanâTwenty- fifth Legislature 2007). FINLAND Many low-volume roads across Finland were paved with thin overlays in the 1980s when asphalt prices were low. As these roads began to deteriorate and asphalt prices rose, some road authorities began converting them back to gravel. In 1999, the three southernmost road districts in Finlandâ HÃ¤me, Turku, and Uusimaaâbegan a pilot project of con- verting road segments at 15 different locations because of lack of funding for road maintenance. In 2001, the three districts formulated a protocol for conversions from paved to unpaved and have successfully utilized the policy exten- sively (Mustonen et al. 2003). The developed road conversion policy focuses on six major factors to be considered (Mustonen et al. 2013): â¢ The road should âbe in such poor condition that motor- ists are experiencing obvious disturbance or even dan- ger while driving.â â¢ Traffic volume should not exceed 250 average annual daily traffic (AADT), particularly in summer when traf- fic counts can be higher. â¢ An economic analysis should be performed examining three optionsâlight maintenance including pothole fill- ing and patching; reconstruction and repaving includ- ing drainage improvement, supplementing with outside material, and resurfacing; reconstruction as a gravel road with crushed stone added to supplement the base course, drainage improvements, and a new aggregate driving surface. â¢ Land use in the area the road services, both present and future, should also be considered especially as dust can present concerns for homes adjacent to the roadway and for agricultural operations. â¢ Per the policy, only rural access roads are candidates to be converted to gravel because more industrialized areas could require a paved surface for the transport of sensitive materials. Initially, local politicians were concerned about a reduc- tion in the level of service on the road. Since the conversion, many road users agree that the level of maintenance on the gravel roads provides a superior driving surface to the deteri- orated paved roads. Across the three districts, few complaints from the public have been received regarding the conversions (Mustonen et al. 2013). REFERENCES FOR APPENDIX E Aberdeen American News, âOpt-Out Q & A: Taxes Would Increase Equally for Ag, Non-Ag Land,â May 23, 2010. Associated Press, âRoad Conditions Hurt Stateâs Agribusi- ness,â Lodi News Sentinel, L.J. Beymer, Ed., Oct. 17, 1980, p. 21. Batheja, A., âLawmakers Hunt for Cash to Fix Roads Hit by Drilling,â The Texas Tribune, Jan. 31, 2013a. Batheja, A., âTxDOT Plans to Convert Some Roads to Gravel,â The Texas Tribune, July 25, 2013b. Batheja, A., âTxDOTâs Cost-Cutting Plans Draw Local Out- rage,â The Texas Tribune, Aug. 12, 2013c. 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85 Tillamook Headlight Herald, âRoad News Gets Worse,â Dec. 7, 2010. Tillamook Headlight Herald, âMakinster Road Needs Work,â Mar. 21, 2007. Twin Township Trustees, Minutes of Regular Meeting, Bourneville, Ohio, 2014. Waltman, S., âBrown County Roads Shortchanged, Study Finds,â Aberdeen American News, May 9, 2012. Washington State Transportation Commission, Our Trans- portation System at Risk, 2010 [Online]. Available: http://www.wstc.wa.gov/StatewideTransportation System/OurTransportationSystematRisk.htm [accessed Mar. 31, 2015]. Weigel, S. and D. Bruins, North Dakota Department of Trans- portation, North Dakota Department of Transportation, Bismarck, 2011. Woolsey, R., âSitka Heads âBack to the Future,ââ KCAW Community Broadcasting, Dec. 29, 2014 [Online]. Avail- able: http://www.kcaw.org/2014/12/29/sitka-heads-back- to-the-future-on-gravel-roads/ [accessed Mar. 4, 2015]. World-Herald News Service, âRural Areas Revert to Gravel to Save Money,â The Daily Nonpareil, Feb. 16, 2011.