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  1. #1
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    Chip And Gravel Roads

    The local road crews "love" to Chip and Gravel as many of the back roads as they can. (Prime bicycle routes.) Are other places this crazy on how they surface the roads?

  2. #2
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    Yeah, ours did too. Seems that for some reason they are flush with cash lately - or so it seems - and just seem to be repaving more now. But they sure do suck when I run into one, bumpy as he11 and sure throws up stones from passing cars too.

  3. #3
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I assume you mean chip seal? Tar with crushed gravel on top?

    Yeah, 2 years ago they chipsealed every road that I can take from home to work. It's between miserable and completely unrideable for a few weeks, then it slowly gets better. It never gets good, it's always worse than original pavement.

    I guess it does extend the life of the pavement by a few years for little cost.

    Once it gets beat down by passing cars it's still better than the gravel roads that are my main option (which vary from "not completely horrible" to "get off and walk" depending on how recently they've been graded and how badly they've gotten washboarded by idiots in pickups with bad shocks).
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    Tar and chipping gets done every two years around here. After two years the chip has migrated deep into the tar. The county and city usually split the job in two. Every year, half of the roads get resealed while the other half gets done the following year.

    Some of my favorite roads look like they will be resealed this year.

  5. #5
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    That's how you maintain a macadam road --- add more gravel(stone) to it. Otherwse it turns into wet, gooey, sticky tar on top. And, that would be a real MESS.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    It's all they ever do to roads here in PA. It's very rare to see a road blacktopped.

    At least until recently. With a Shale gas well going up every 5 feet, it seems they are paying for paving the secondary roads and most of them are now getting blacktopped. It's fantastic because the roads around me are finally smooth after a lifetime of (we call it) tar and chip.

    The nice smooth blacktop will only last a year though before the state/township goes and covers it again with tar and chip.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Beats potholes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    Beats potholes.
    Here in NTX, they use boulderseal...
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  9. #9
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vic303 View Post
    Here in NTX, they use boulderseal...
    I've been there, just after they coated it ---- it IS AMAZING that they use such BIG rocks. Around here, they use pea gravel or fairly fine crushed limestone.

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  10. #10
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    VDOT used to use pea gravel around here but recently began using 7 & 8 crushed rock. So it's like riding on giant sandpaper. Good traction but it would rip the flesh off your bones if you went down. Fortunately it only gets done every 6 or 7 years.

  11. #11
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    They do it all the time around here too. A year after they replace the asphalt they do chip and seal as evidently it prolongs the life of the road surface.

    Anyway, it's always a drag to be on a skinny tired road bike and have to run these passages, the corners are brutal. Usually it lasts a couple weeks then they sweep up the excess. I'd suggest , If you have the option to run wider tires or a bike with wider tires during the chip and seal season.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Freeze-Thaw Cycles of the year would break up pavements,

    so <guess> They use a low cost surface since it needs replacing so frequently ..

    Basalt-granite cobble stones would Do since they offer a expansion/ contraction space between them ,

    but that was used before .. Oil, Bitumen, was Available to spread out.

  13. #13
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Here, they just shovel some quick patch into the potholes and call it a day.
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  14. #14
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
    Usually it lasts a couple weeks then they sweep up the excess.
    Sweeping off the excess, what a brilliant idea. Wish they did that around here. It sits on the road surface to eventually be blown out of the car tire tracks into the center, center of the tire tracks, and right side until winter hits. Then it is plowed with the snow and deposited into the berm or if there is a shoulder, the shoulder.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Here, they just shovel some quick patch into the potholes and call it a day.
    Same here. The patches generally last 2 weeks or so, before developing "hump and hole" syndrome.

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    Dirt/gravel roads in VT are commonplace. In winter, the surfaces get smoothest - due to packed ice/snow. When they thaw out - muddy ruts. Eventually they will dry out and get graded to "fix" them. This time of year, depending upon the washboards, may get another grader pass. Inbetween gradings, sometimes the roads get nicely smooth. Just have to deal with the surfaces with different bikes.
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  18. #18
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    That's how you maintain a macadam road --- add more gravel(stone) to it. Otherwse it turns into wet, gooey, sticky tar on top. And, that would be a real MESS.
    For whatever reason, that doesn't happen around here. The tar or whatever the binding in asphalt is just wears away, after a while you have just exposed stones. Then the stones start to pull out and once that starts you have an accelerated process of spalling that eats away the surface over a few months.

    Also the frost heave usually starts to dismantle roads by about year 10 after construction anyway.

    I don't think I've ever seen a road get a gooey surface on it. Maybe it's a different material here, or it's something that happens where it gets hotter for longer?
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    Near here in Tacoma, it seems they simply ignore road maintenance , many large pot holes rarely receive attention.

  20. #20
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    I love riding gravel and dirt routes but some changes to bike make it much more enjoyable, higher volume tires are your friend! Check out this sub forum on tips how to ride rough roads fast and efficiently as well as comfortable.

    Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking

  21. #21
    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Bierbaum View Post
    Same here. The patches generally last 2 weeks or so, before developing "hump and hole" syndrome.
    Are there commercial trucks that use these routes? In the US, i've been thinking it may be wise to lower axle loads and ad a pair of axles to most types of trailers. This would make a massive difference in pavement and bridge longevity, and it would decrease the incidence of warped asphalt. Perhaps mileage taxes to other vehicles, and congestion pricing for urban areas could start to put a dent in the state of repair in many roads and highways, and decrease how often repaves and other things need to be done.

    Too much common sense i guess.

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  22. #22
    afraid of whales Mr IGH's Avatar
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    I live in northern Boulder County and I didn't find the experience to be too bad. I waited a day and hardly noticed any issues (biggest issue was no shoulder or center line stripes for 3-4 days). There were the normal number of daily riders on those roads so I wasn't alone in my thinking. The county claims to use smaller gravel to make things better for cyclists and I thought the process was much better compared to pea-sized gravel I'm used to riding on back east.
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  23. #23
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    They did that surface on many of the tertiary roads here. They used to all be dirt, so it's a definite improvement. They lasted pretty well for 5 or 6 years, but last summer they were logging everything in the area and that tore them up to the point of being unrideable over the winter. But they just came in and resurfaced, so hopefully they'll last a while this time.

  24. #24
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    It depends on how good of a job they do, and if the road has a shoulder. If it's well done, it's not that bad. However, on a couple of the roads that I can't avoid, a few years ago they put down so much gravel that it was like riding in sand, and I had to give up and drive for a week. Even then, the gravel got pushed off into the shoulder and there was 4 or 5 inches of loose gravel in the shoulder, forcing me to ride in the main travel lane on a 60 MPH road even though there's a 2 foot wide shoulder.

    After a few weeks they came through and scooped up the excess gravel and it's OK to ride again now.

    When they chipseal a road, if I drive on it I try to drive outside the ruts where the gravel is still loose and not packed down, to help speed the process along.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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