Friday, December 3, 2010

Fixing the road

Today I brought an acquaintance from work out to my bug-out place.  The road is in need of repair and my little tractor isn't heavy duty enough for this job.  The person I brought out can run heavy equipment such as bulldozers, tractors, graders, etc. 

The property can be accessed from two different roads.  The main road is the one that crosses the creek so this road can't be used for a couple of months out of the year.  Actually, you can park the car on the opposite side of the creek and cross the footbridge.  Then you can drive out.  It does mean a mile long walk from the property to the creek crossing but if you don't mind leaving the vehicle unattended in an area where local ner-do-wells hang out, then you are set.  The bug-out place is really in a perfect location if you are well prepared.  You'd have very few visitors during the winter.

There is a second way to get to the property.  It's through a couple of ranches.  I haven't contacted any of those ranchers but may be able to use those roads in an emergency situation.  The second road doesn't come to the front of the property.  It goes to the back end of the property.  This road used to intersect with the main road until a pond overflowed and blew out the culvert.  There's now a hole at the end of that road about 20 feet wide and 10 feet deep.  Therefore the two roads don't intersect.  I was told that it wouldn't be too hard of a fix.  It would cost about two or three hundred dollars for the 36 inch culvert that would need to be 50 or 60 feet long.  I don't know if I want to spend that kind of money doing a major repair on someone else's property.  I'll have to think about it.
Much of the main road needs to be graded.  The slope of the road in most places is exactly opposite of what is needed.  Where it should slope in it slopes out.  Where it should slope out it slopes in.  There is down cutting on both sides of the road, in some places the road is getting so narrow that you worry the truck may slip off into the ditch.  In other places the road is flat through a meadow.  Here, if water does pool, it can't be directed off the road because the entire road is downcut into the meadow by six inches.  There is a twelve inch culvert that appears to be working well to direct flow of a seasonal creek.   First I was thinking about pulling the culvert and installing a rolling dip.  This would work but the culvert is doing a good job and is well rocked.  It's just the road is too narrow so in this spot it will need to be widened.

I asked his opinion on this and he said he could clean it all up with a grader.  He busy until after the first of the year, and hopefully we won't have too much more rain until then.  If the road gets too wet he won't be able to work the soil well.  If it's too dry it won't hold.  I am thinking about having him grade a road through the property to go from the back to the front.  It would be good for convenience but on the other hand it would open up the property and make it much less defensible.

I then went to the local fire station and talked to them about the road.  I was hoping that they could possibly help with some of the road repair...wishful thinking since the property isn't on a major fuel break...  Anyway, their engine could easily cross the creek even at its highest flow.  Their issue would be at this culvert because the engine will not fit on the road.  If they went off the road they'd smash the culvert.  That's not their problem as they would be able to make it to any of the back properties. 

I know I have to balance keeping the place private but still making it accessible.  It's a fine line between the two. 

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