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Repairing a gravel lane

Some gravel lanes need a lot of maintenance with at least one load of rocks every year to fill out the potholes.

Chuck Jahren is a construction engineering professor at Iowa State University. He  says if your lane is in a low spot and never drains, you're going to have problems. He suggests using the blade on your tractor to help prevent potholes.

"If you do that fairly often before you start getting potholes, that'll help because usually a pothole starts out with maybe a fairly small bump, and then the tires and stuff pound it to make it bigger," says Jahren. "So if you get rid of all the small bumps while they're still small and easy to get rid of, that's going to help you out quite a bit."

Jahren says with light traffic, most private lanes only need to be smoothed out two-or-three-times-per-year. Try to blade it after a light rain. If you don't have a blade on your tractor, drag old tires behind a vehicle.

It's possible to repair any potholes that do develop. One way is to make filler with extra rock and add a bit of water to moisten it.

"You want the rock material to be just moist enough so if you squeeze a handful of it, it's right on the verge of falling apart, you can't quite make a snowball or anything like that with it, but it's just ready to do it. If you get more water than that, it's kind of too sticky," he says. "And if you get less than that, it won't work the way I'm suggesting."

Shovel this material into the pothole and roll over it with your heaviest vehicle.  This should repair the pothole for a year-or-two. You'll occasionally have to replace the gravel entirely, and it's important to get crushed rock or gravel that has clay in it. When it dries out after being rolled over and compacted, it's almost like concrete.

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