National Academies Press: OpenBook

Converting Paved Roads to Unpaved (2015)

Chapter: Chapter Four - Resources and Available Documents

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Resources and Available Documents ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Converting Paved Roads to Unpaved. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21935.
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Page 21
Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Resources and Available Documents ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Converting Paved Roads to Unpaved. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21935.
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Page 21
Page 22
Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Resources and Available Documents ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Converting Paved Roads to Unpaved. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21935.
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21 3. “Improvements to Linn Run Road: Case Study on Turn- Back of Asphalt-Paved Road Surface to Maintainable Gravel Road Surface” is a journal article detailing the conversion of a deteriorated paved road to gravel by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry in conjunction with The Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies at Penn sylvania State University [Shearer, D.R. and B.E. Scheetz, “Improvements to Linn Run Road: Case Study on Turn-Back of Asphalt-Paved Road Surface to Main- tainable Gravel Road Surface,” Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., 2011, pp. 215–220 (http:// trrjournalonline.trb.org/doi/abs/10.3141/2204-27)]. GRAVEL ROAD DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION, AND MAINTENANCE 1. The Gravel Roads: Maintenance and Design Manual was developed in 2000 but is still relevant as a guid- ance document. This document discusses road shaping, drainage, definition of “good” surface gravel and the volume required, and maintenance guidance for gravel roads [Skorseth, K. and A.A. Selim, Gravel Roads: Maintenance and Design Manual, South Dakota Local Transportation Assistance Program and Federal Highway Administration, Washington, D.C., 2000 (http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/12000/12100/12188/20020819_ gravelroads.pdf)]. A revised version of Gravel Roads: Maintenance and Design Manual was completed in 2015 and pub- lished with the title: Gravel Roads: Construction and Maintenance Guide. Updated information and photos are included to guide gravel road managers, equip- ment operators, and field supervisors. Roadway shape, drainage, recommended surface gravel specifications, and basic construction guidance are the key points cov- ered (Skorseth, K., R. Reid, and K. Hieberger, Gravel Roads: Construction and Maintenance Guide, FHWA Publication No. FHWA-OTS-15-0002, 2015). 2. Best Practices for the Design and Construction of Low Volume Roads Revised presents how MnPAVE, a mechanistic-empirical software program, can be used to design pavement types based on traffic loading, design life, and vehicle type, and provides guidance on sub- grade and embankment soils and recommendations for density and compaction. Although this document speaks more to pavements, information on subgrade prepara- tion and best practices to follow specifications may be gleaned from the document [Skok, E.L., D.H. Timm, This chapter provides a summary of relevant reports, docu- ments, and resources that can be used when considering or conducting a road conversion. A comprehensive approach to this conversion requires, but is not limited to, assessment of the level of deterioration of the road, identification of appropri- ate options that are available to rehabilitate or treat the road, a life-cycle cost analysis of these options, a centerline survey to determine the existing road structure and available materials, material testing to determine the appropriate blend of materials (i.e., recycling depth) and whether additional materials are to be imported, selection of an appropriate stabilizer or dust sup- pressant if these are being considered, and the use of appropri- ate road construction and maintenance methods. At this time, there is no comprehensive document that addresses all of these variables; therefore, the information presented in this chapter provides a list of the most relevant publications on each of the variables assumed to have the greatest influence on converting roads. An annotated bibliography of the reports, documents, and resources is presented in this chapter. RESOURCES ADDRESSING CONVERSION FROM PAVED TO UNPAVED 1. Decision Tree for Unpaving Roads is a preliminary assessment of the state of the practices for “issues sur- rounding the maintenance, preservation, and possible conversion of a low volume paved road to gravel.” This document provides a summary of relevant literature and a survey of state and county transportation agen- cies on this topic [CTC & Associates LLC, Decision Tree for Unpaving Roads, Office of Policy Analysis, Research, and Innovation, Research Services Section, Minnesota Department of Transportation, St. Paul, 2010 (http://www.dot.state.mn.us/research/TRS/2010/ TRS1007.pdf)]. 2. “Turning Deteriorated Paved Roads Back into Gravel Roads: Sheer Lunacy or Sustainable Maintenance Pol- icy?” is a journal article that describes circumstances in Finland that led to three local road programs devel- oping guidelines to determine if a road qualified to be converted from paved to unpaved [Mustonen et al., “Turning Deteriorated Paved Roads Back into Gravel Roads: Sheer Lunacy or Sustainable Maintenance Pol- icy?,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 1819, Transporta- tion Research Board of the National Academies, Wash- ington, D.C., 2003 (http://trrjournalonline.trb.org/doi/ abs/10.3141/1819a-15)]. chapter four RESOURCES AND AVAILABLE DOCUMENTS

22 M.L. Brown, T.R. Clyne, and E. Johnson, Best Prac- tices for the Design and Construction of Low Volume Roads Revised, Minnesota Department of Transporta- tion, St. Paul, 2003 (http://www.lrrb.org/media/reports/ 200217REV.pdf)]. 3. Guidelines for Geometric Design of Very Low-Volume Local Roads developed by AASHTO (2001) addresses the unique needs of very low-volume roads (LVR) with limited traffic and reduced crash rates to avoid overdesign for safety and engineering of these roads. The document provides recommended ranges of values for critical dimensions that can be used to supplement existing road design manuals [American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Guide- lines for Geometric Design of Very Low-Volume Local Roads, 2001 (https://bookstore.transportation.org/item _details.aspx?id=157)]. 4. Low-Volume Roads Engineering: Best Management Practices Field Guide is a handbook outlining best management practices for low-volume road design and construction. Recommended practices for topics, including planning, location, survey, design, construc- tion, maintenance, and road closure, are covered in the book [Keller, G. and J. Sherar, Low-Volume Roads Engineering: Best Management Practices Field Guide, U.S. Agency for International Development, Washing- ton, D.C., 2003 (http://www.fs.fed.us/global/topic/sfm/ low_resolution_roads_bmp_guide.pdf)]. 5. Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance for Dirt and Gravel Roads is a guidance document based on infor- mation and training products developed by the Penn- sylvania State Conservation Commission and the Penn State Center for Study of Dirt & Gravel Roads that addresses environmental issues associated with gravel roads such as erosion, sediment, and dust and mitiga- tion methods [Anderson, J.A. and A.L. Gesford, Envi- ronmentally Sensitive Maintenance for Dirt and Gravel Roads, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Harrisburg, 2007 (http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/ sensitive.cfm)]. 6. Unsealed Roads Manual: Guidelines to Good Practices is a manual that provides direction and information to road authorities on management and the economics of unsealed roads. The manual was developed by the Australian Roads Research Board and is focused on gravel road maintenance in arid regions [Guimarra, G., Unsealed Roads Manual: Guidelines to Good Prac- tices, 3rd ed., Australian Road Research Board, Vermont South, Victoria, Australia, 2009 (http://trid.trb.org/ view.aspx?id=1162958)]. 7. Unsealed Roads: Design, Construction and Mainte- nance is a guide detailing various aspects of unpaved roads from initial design, to maintenance and reha- bilitation. The guide was developed in South Africa and focuses on soil, gravel, climatic conditions pres- ent in the country (Paige-Green, P., Unsealed Roads: Design, Construction and Maintenance, #20. Depart- ment of Transport, Technical Recommendations for Highways, Pretoria, South Africa, 2009). ROAD CONDITION AND SURFACING OPTION ASSESSMENT TOOLS 1. Assessment Procedures for Paved and Gravel Roads was developed by the Indiana Local Technical Assis- tance Program in 2013 and provides an assessment procedure that can be used by local agencies to aid in determining the most appropriate surface type for a given road. Two assessment methodologies were developed specifically for Indiana using cost data from local roads programs. The first methodology provides a basic framework for the comparison of costs for alternative road surface treatment options. The second methodology uses a multiobjective assessment proce- dure to determine the relative ranking of each alterna- tive road surface treatment option based on cost, traffic volume, development, public preference, and other variables. The tool was developed for use in Indiana, but because the costs, practices, and weighting factors can be modified, this tool can be successfully used by any state local roads program [Figueroa, C., B. Fotsch, S. Hubbard, and J. Haddock, Assessment Procedures for Paved and Gravel Roads, Indiana Local Techni- cal Assistance Program, West Lafayette, 2013 (http:// rebar.ecn.purdue.edu/ltap1/multipleupload/Pavement/ Assessment%20Procedures%20for%20Paved%20 and%20Gravel%20Roads.pdf)]. 2. Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) Manual for Asphalt Roads is a tool that can be used to quickly assess road pavement condition on a scale from 1 to 10 (Walker et al. 2013). The ratings are associated with road condition categories and pre- scribed treatment options. The PASER assessment tool allows for comparison of road segment quality and the identification of roads requiring treatment. The PASER system is not a robust analysis of road conditions such that the ranking cannot be used in “mechanical-empirical transportation asset manage- ment programs.” PASER manuals have been devel- oped for gravel, concrete, brick and block, sealcoat, and unimproved roads [Walker, D., L. Entine, and S. Kummer, Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) Manual for Asphalt Roads, Transportation Information Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2013 (http://epdfiles.engr.wisc.edu/pdf_web_files/tic/ manuals/asphalt-paser_02_rev13.pdf)]. 3. Gravel Road Management Tools is a summary of the state of the practice of gravel road management tools used and identifies the needs of local agencies. The information presented in the document was captured through two surveys by the Minnesota Local Roads Program and from county engineers across the coun- try through the National Association of County Engi- neers (NACE) [Local Road Research Board (LRRB),

23 Gravel Road Management Tools, Minnesota Depart- ment of Transportation, St. Paul, 2014 (http://www. dot.state.mn.us/research/TRS/2014/TRS1407.pdf)]. 4. To Pave or Not to Pave is a summary article that high- lights the work completed by Jahren et al. (2005) and Skorseth and Selim (2000), both of which are sum- marized in this chapter, as well as additional tools that can be used when deciding whether or not to pave a road (Kansas LTAP 2006). A video associated with this document can be found at: http://www.mnltap. umn.edu/Videos/ToPaveOrNot/ToPaveOrNot.swf [Kansas LTAP, To Pave or Not to Pave, Lawrence, 2006 (http://www.kutc.ku.edu/pdffiles/2006_Paving_ Guide.pdf)]. 5. Economics of Upgrading an Aggregate Road was developed in Minnesota for local road programs and provides guidance on when a road should be improved and recommended procedures for doing so (i.e., grading, regraveling, dust control/soil stabilization, reconstruction/regrading, paving). This study conducted a cost analysis and looked into the effects of traffic vol- ume and type, road surface type, and cost. A method was developed to estimate the cost of maintaining a gravel road, which includes labor, equipment, and materials. This document addresses methods for local road agen- cies to communicate to the public the why and how of maintenance techniques and policy decisions [Jahren, C.T., D. Smith, J. Thorius, M. Rukashaza-Mukome, D. White, and G. Johnson, Economics of Upgrading an Aggregate Road, Minnesota Department of Trans- portation, St. Paul, 2005 (http://www.lrrb.org/media/ reports/200509.pdf)]. 6. When to Pave a Gravel Road provides information on how to assess if a gravel road should be paved. This document takes a question-and-answer approach to 10 discussion points to be considered by local govern- ment officials when considering paving a gravel road [Kentucky Transportation Center, Appendix D: When to Pave a Gravel Road, Kentucky Transportation Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, n.d. (http:// water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/upload/2003_07_24_ NPS_gravelroads_appd.pdf)]. 7. Local Road Surfacing Criteria is a document that pro- vides a methodology for evaluating road sections. It includes a software tool and a user’s guide, which is designed to aid in making local road surfacing decisions. The methodology allows users to compare costs for different road types from paved to gravel [Zimmerman, K.A. and A.S. Wolters, Local Road Surfacing Criteria, South Dakota Department of Transportation, Pierre, 2004 (http://sddot.com/business/research/projects/docs/ sd200210_Final_Report.pdf)]. 8. A Local Road Surface Selection Tool was developed based on the Local Road Surfacing Criteria (Zim- merman and Wolters 2004). The online tool serves as an analytical tool that applies low-volume road management methodologies to allow users to com- pare costs associated with different road surface types and the maintenance of various surface types and aids in the selection of the appropriate surface for a given set of circumstances. At this time, the tool can be used for counties in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota (http://dotsc.ugpti.ndsu.nodak.edu/ SurfaceSelection/). 9. Context Sensitive Roadway Surfacing Selection Guide is a road surface selection tool that is designed to incorporate context-sensitive design parameters from the beginning planning stages well into design and construction. The guide provides a surface selec- tion tool, which can be integrated easily into cur- rent processes, allows for multidisciplinary input, and provides a broad list of possible road surfac- ing options [Maher, M., C. Marshall, F. Harrison, and K. Baumgaertner, Context Sensitive Roadway Surfac- ing Selection Guide, 2005 (http://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/ innovation/td/pavement/context-roadway-surfacing/ documents/context-sensitive-roadways.pdf)]. 10. “Development of Guidelines for Unsealed Road Assess- ment” is a journal article summarizing the manual devel- oped for the unified standard assessment of unsealed roads in South Africa in collaboration with the South African Committee of Land Transport Officials. The manual outlines various criteria for visually assessing an unsealed road surface in an effort to provide continu- ity and consistency across the many road authorities in South Africa [Jones, D., P. Paige-Green, and E. Sadzick, “Development of Guidelines for Unsealed Road Assess- ment,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 1819, Transporta- tion Research Board of the National Academies, Wash- ington, D.C., 2003, pp. 287–296 (http://trrjournalonline. trb.org/doi/abs/10.3141/1819a-42)]. USEFUL WEBSITES Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies (http://www. dirtandgravel.psu.edu/) Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) (http:// www.lrrb.org/) Minnesota Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) (http://www.mnltap.umn.edu/topics/lowvolume/) North Dakota State University, Upper Great Plains Transpor- tation Institute (NDSU/UGPTI) (http://www.ugpti.org/) South Dakota Local Transportation Assistance Program (LTAP) (http://www.sdstate.edu/engr/ltap/) Transportation Engineering and Road Research Alliance (TERRA) (http://www.terraroadalliance.org/) TRB Low-Volume Roads (LVR) Committee and Confer- ences (http://www.trb.org/AFB30/AFB30.aspx) Unpaved Roads Institute (URi) (http://unpavedroads institute.org)

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TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 485: Converting Paved Roads to Unpaved explores how common and under what conditions paved roads are converted to unpaved.

NCHRP Synthesis 485 found that the practice of converting paved roads to unpaved is relatively widespread; recent road conversion projects were identified in 27 states. These are primarily rural, low-volume roads that were paved when asphalt and construction prices were low. Those asphalt roads have now aged well beyond their design service life, are rapidly deteriorating, and are both difficult and expensive to maintain. Instead, many local road agencies are converting these deteriorated paved roads to unpaved as a more sustainable solution.

According to the report, local road agencies have experienced positive outcomes by converting roads. Many local road agencies reported cost savings after converting, compared with the costs of continuing maintenance of the deteriorating paved road, or repaving. One key to successful conversion is early involvement of the public in the planning process. Other techniques that can be used to improve the overall results of a project include treating or stabilizing granular surfaces to control dust, limiting the rate of aggregate loss, and reducing motor grader/blade maintenance frequency. Stabilization procedures can also improve safety, increase public acceptance, and reduce life-cycle costs and environmental impacts after a conversion has taken place.

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