Getting to the Bottom of POTHOLES!

“Cut out the potholes, don’t just fill ’em or they’ll come right back.”
Good advice that we all try to follow. But what do you do when there are 6″ deep potholes in a road with a processed gravel surface that’s only 3″ thick. If you cut all the way to the bottom of the potholes you’re digging up coarse base material, forcing you not only to have to remove stones from the finished surface but also to have to lose material that should have remained in the road bed.

Having performed road maintenance for many years with a front mounted grader/rake on my truck, I’ve discovered what may be a simple answer. Although a pickup truck lacks the power and weight of a conventional motor grader, it can operate much faster, covering more ground in less time, proving to be an advantage when dealing with the “Thin Gravel Syndrome.”
A pickup mounted grader/rake cannot easily cut 6″ into a road surface, but it can usually penetrate 3″ in a moist road with little effort. The trick is to regrade the road surface within the capability of the truck and then leave it for a while so that traffic can compact gravel into the potholes. Then regrade the road before potholes become as bad as they had been. Your first visit reduces the potholes greatly, perhaps to a depth the grader/rake is able to cut on the second visit. After a few visits, you should have a road that’s reshaped into a proper crown and free of potholes.

Because a truck can operate much faster that a grader and transports more quickly between jobs, it’s easier for the truck to return to a site as soon as potholes begin to appear. A State of Maine Park Ranger coined a phrase for this during a road training seminar last fall when he suggested to me that he should …”Go fast and go often.” An appropriate conclusion, within reason.

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