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Engineer: Don’t haul heavy on soft gravel

By Staff | Mar 19, 2010

Webster County has issued a news brief for farmers to avoid rolling heavy equipment over saturated roadways too early this spring. Gravel roads are in fragile conditions as they are softened by frost boils, flooded streams and inundated fields.

By LINDSEY

MUTCHLER

For Farm News

As temperatures climb and snow recedes, gravel roads are becoming soft.

All 867 miles of them in Webster County.

In order to maintain the quality of the roads, Webster County Engineer Randy Will is asking landowners, cooperatives and rural businesses to “minimize any heavy hauling until road conditions improve.”

“Thawing – combined with precipitation, fog and overcast skies – will cause the granular surfaced roads in the county to become soft,” Will wrote in a press release Monday. “The condition of the roads may make it difficult for all types of travel. Loads are capable of damaging roads with a limited number of passes.”

Traveling early in the morning while the ground is still frozen and reducing load sizes when hauling during the day were recommended by the department, as well as using paved roads as much as possible.

“Every effort will be made by the Webster County Secondary Road Department to maintain the road system in the best condition practicable,” Will wrote.

“However, embargoes and road closure may be required on certain roads incapable of bearing the customary traffic. The cooperation of everyone is needed to minimize the damage to the roads.”

Will said he knows hauling lighter loads will not be very popular, as farmers begin to haul the grain they’ve stored over the winter, and from past experience, embargoes are difficult to enforce when grain needs to be delivered to a feed lot.

“I know it costs extra to haul another load, but with extra heavy traffic, the roads could get very challenging to drive on,” Will added. “It could get to the point where drivers may not be able to get through. We can only haul so much material, so we need every one’s help.

“We just want to create awareness about the situation, and ask for good, common sense cooperation. It will be a very challenging spring, but we’ll do the best we can.”

Contact Lindsey Mutchler at (515) 573-2141 or lindsey@messengernews.net.

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