Dirt Road Maintenance

Construction equipment on dirt roadImportance of Road Condition

There are over 252 miles of County owned or maintained dirt roads in Bay County. More than 95% of these roads consist of a mixture of sand and clay which make-up the road base. The condition of these roads is highly dependent on the volume and type of traffic, drainage systems and weather conditions. Erosion of unpaved roads and their drainage systems is the single most significant factor affecting maintenance requirements.

Road Erosion Causes

Erosion of unpaved roadways occurs when soil particles are loosened and carried away from the roadway base and into the roadway drainage system. Soil particles that settle out in the drainage system reduce the carrying capacity of the ditch which in turn causes roadway flooding and thus more roadway erosion.

Grading dirt roads that have little moisture content in the soil is futile and is often the cause of road surface degradation such as "washboarding" and other problems associated with the loss of fines. Frequent, excessive and unnecessary disturbances by continued grading increases erosion, which accounts for a large percentage of dirt road maintenance costs and the deposit of sediments in our water bodies. A properly timed and selective surface maintenance, which includes drainage systems, will minimize erosion problems and lengthen the life of the road surface.

Questions or Comments

Questions regarding dirt road maintenance may be directed to the Engineering Division at 850-248-8301 or by email.