August 4, 2011

County Working to Reclaim Road Rock

This shoulder reclaimer tool is helping the county road department recycle road rock from ditches while keeping the vegetation under control along county roads.

Motorists traveling down county gravel roads may be wondering when the new speed bumps were installed. Unlike the typical obstacles built across parking lots to slow down traffic, these rows of debris run parallel with the road itself are not being installed to slow down motorists.

What drivers are experiencing are the results of the county road crews efforts to recycle road rock and manage ditches along county roads.

County Road Boss Mark Drummond said the use of a shoulder reclaimer mounted to one of the county's road graders is hopefully helping save some tax dollars. The approximately six-foot wide device is similar to a farm harrow disc. It is side mounted to a grader, and is run in the ditches along county roads where it cuts through sod, removing vegetation and mixing in road rock with the dirt, before throwing the gravel one to two feet back onto the roadway.

The result is a small mound running the length of the roadway, filled with dirt, rock and vegetation. The debris typically is left in place for a week.

"It needs to be left in the roadway for at least a week so that all of the vegetation dies and starts decomposing before we go back in and spread the rock and material back into the road," Drummond stated. "That's why we normally only run one side of the road at a time, so it doesn't cause too many traffic problems."

The road boss indicated that spring and fall are generally the best times to perform the task, but added that the machinery is often utilized when an operator is freed up between jobs.

"Right now the ground is so hard, you won't see a lot of this type of work being done," Drummond stated, "but later in the year when the conditions improve you can expect to see the reclaimer as often as we can spare an operator."

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