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Building a driveway in a desert area.

 
pollinator
Posts: 291
Location: Nevada
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I have property in the NE corner of Nevada...the actual location depends on which way the wind is blowing ;)  There are dirt roods to access the lots in that area but they are very rough.  4x4's, AWD and even 2x4 can do it but they take a beating.  The ground is really hard.  After you get below an inch or so, you need a pick to keep on digging.  I am looking for options to smooth things out a bit that are both relatively inexpensive and environmentally friendly.  Not using heavy equipment is not likely to be an option.  It is about a half mile of dirt road. I have thought about accumulating compost over a year and then bringing in a bulldozer with a "plow type" attachment at the back to break up the soil, then adding compost to it and possibly gravel or sand, and planting some kind of local ground cover to keep the soil in place.  This is probably a poor idea, but I have spent the past years studying ways to build houses and not roads.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 1496
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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I have been a road builder, so I can help.
Compost may be the worst material you could use.
Can you show me some photos and give me rainfall and soil type details?
Also is there a slope in the area, across the pathway, along the route?
And is there a source of rock in the area?
In expensive is not a word to be associated with what you are asking about.
 
John C Daley
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Here is something to read in the mean time;
forming roads

Gravel Road construction
Gravel Roads

I have found an article on the impossible!
A low cost road using mulch, my mind is having difficulty taking it in.
But it has worked for this bloke in the short term.
temporary low cost road
 
Tom Connolly
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I will go home this summer and will be able to take some better pics to show you - I will also look at the property a little differently, after getting your advice.
Thanks!
 
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Tom, I'm in western Nevada. Not sure of the nearest city and your budget, but you can rent a truck, trailer, and skidsteer from Reno for ~$2K for about a week which is probably way more than you need. I'll dig small holes with hand tools but anything resembling real work (trenching, grading, road building, etc) I'll call in the little-big-guns like a skidsteer or mini excavator. If you have any friends in construction they very well might own one. I paid a friend for gas, bought food for the weekend, and gave him $100/day. He brought a skidsteer out and did some work, showed me how to use it, watched me from a lawn chair while he drank a beer and yelled instructions at me, etc.
 
Tom Connolly
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Tony Hawkins wrote:Tom, I'm in western Nevada. Not sure of the nearest city and your budget, but you can rent a truck, trailer, and skidsteer from Reno for ~$2K for about a week which is probably way more than you need. I'll dig small holes with hand tools but anything resembling real work (trenching, grading, road building, etc) I'll call in the little-big-guns like a skidsteer or mini excavator. If you have any friends in construction they very well might own one. I paid a friend for gas, bought food for the weekend, and gave him $100/day. He brought a skidsteer out and did some work, showed me how to use it, watched me from a lawn chair while he drank a beer and yelled instructions at me, etc.



Thanks - that is helpful information!  Yes, I am hoping to do some research, make some measurements (property dimensions, wind, etc) and make a plan for the use of the whole lot.  At that point, I can rent some heavy equipment - especially with a hole digger - and get my $$$ worth!
 
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