Road construction through wooded swamp?
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    Jim Timber's Avatar
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    Road construction through wooded swamp?

    Got word that my road through a type 7 wooded swamp is getting permitted (silvicultural exemption), so now the decision on how to build it needs to be made.

    I had the DNR TEP guy out last fall and he did some bore samples which discovered 3" of clay over sand under 4' of peat muck. So it's shallow enough I can skip geotextile, but I question the value of that savings? If I use fabric, it'll add about $450 per layer on the cost, where my other materials will be around $2500 or so (16x250' road bed).

    I also question the "best practices" guidelines which state to put the fabric down over the organic material, and then put fill over it. Seems like a "skim coat" of large stones would make a better base for the fabric, even if some of that ended up sinking.

    Another benefit to a base layer under the first coarse of fabric would be the ability to anchor the culverts with the fabric. The culvert my swamp drains to has heaved over the past 5 years or so and is coming up through the asphalt. I'd like to prevent that on mine!

    So right now I'm thinking: muck/4-6" riprap to level it out over the stumps and slash/geotextile/gravel/then class 5 with fines for the surface.

    I can also do corduroy and float it, but I think that'd work better if the ground was cleared. Maybe do corduroy over the fabric and below the gravel?

    The swamp will start thawing when the temps reach the 40's and that could be this weekend.

    Any input is welcome! I didn't think I'd get permission, or I would've done more site prep last fall.
    5065E MFWD w/553 loader

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    blue87fj60's Avatar
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    The easiest way to cross a wet swampy area is to fill it alot of bone.
    That is big rock and rip rap or concrete and brick.
    Have built quite a few roads that way. Mainly on Ft Dix where it wasn't an engineered and inspected public highway type of road. And a few private driveways as well. Used hundreds of loads of hammered up runway and tarmac concrete to make tank and armored vehicle roads.
    I also did an access for my uncle where we used five tri axle loads of clean broken brick about 4 feet thick to cross a wet spung.

    The thing is you can never get rid of the water and you shouldn't try to. The ground water will flow through the bone naturally without compromising stability. Now if we were talking about a public road or highway a whole different in depth, very expensive and engineered solution would be drawn up.
    Start with the biggest boney material you can at the bottom and when you get near your subgrade fill the voids with a smaller clean boney material. You can then lay down a fabric and cover that with a road base material.
    Getting down to the more stable UNDISTURBED clay or sand layer with your base material is the goal to make it as tight as possible.
    Jim Timber likes this.
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    Jim Timber's Avatar
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    Talked to the pit boss, and he's got larger rock for $15/yd delivered per 12yd truck load ($180 a load). We just got 3" of snow, so everything's pretty well covered up now, but I'm planning on heading over there my next trip up here when the snows melted down a bit. I need to be home for a week or two to run my business, and can deal with the rock when I come back.

    I have all the sand you can shake a stick at, but I don't want to dyke the swamp. There's a spring feeding it somewhere either on my 3 acres or the neighbors 2 (he's slightly up hill from me, but I have the deeper hole). I'd actually like to dredge it out into a pond, but don't have the money for that yet.

    So having given it some thought; my plan is to put down a base of coarse rock and try to level it out a bit, and use that as a ford (I can add more as the swamp eats it). Then build some wooden mats, and then build a road bed over that.
    5065E MFWD w/553 loader

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    Superglidesport's Avatar
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    Interesting how things are so much different in certain areas. Around here before excavating to build a house, driveway or road we usually start with drilling and blasting. With all the rocks and granite ledge you need a backhoe to plant a geranium!!
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    Jim Timber's Avatar
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    We're technically a drumlin field, but I don't know of anyone who's hit bedrock that wasn't drilling a well at the time.

    There's a lot of stone in our soil, but it'd cost me more to sift it than to have the stuff delivered. When it's time for sand, I'll dig my own.

    There's several gravel pits in a 5 mile radius of my land - it's kinda like firewood; the trees are free, but you pay for labor and hauling.
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    5065E MFWD w/553 loader

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    Dingeryote's Avatar
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    Jim,

    I dunno if you have ever worked with the Geo-textile before, or not.

    It kind of works in reverse.

    Instead of needing support with rock under it, it relies on tension of the rocks ON it, which creates a linear load on the fabric, and enlarging the effective footprint. Think of it as making a giant snowshoe. It needs some compression to work.

    Putting the Fabric over Rock is counterproductive in muck and sand really, and just adds expense.

    This whole area is either sand or muck, and cutting in Geo-textile 6", and then fill with 6" of 23A or crushed concrete, over 5-6' of Muck that sees heavy water flow seasonally, is pretty normal here. Heck, running loaded Reefer trailers over them without settling for years is normal that way. Ours just needs the backblade now and then, to fill the spots where wheels have spun.

    It seems contrary, and especially so to us old school guys, that only knew to pack with sticks, and then keep pushing it to China with Gravel, every other year.

    Price and Co. out of Grand Rapids, is a great source of info and help, for engineering and materials.
    http://www.priceandcompany.com/index.html

    Have you checked with the NRCS guys? If it's going to be a frequently used road, there might be some cost shares available under soil conservation.
    Last edited by Dingeryote; 03-03-2015 at 03:29 PM.

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    Jim Timber's Avatar
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    The most help I get is $100 permit fee and not having to pay impact credits unless I convert the land to residential and use it as my driveway.

    I've been talking to all the TEP folks (ACoE, SWCD, county wetlands coordinator, DNR) for the past 3 years trying to find a reasonable solution to my being land locked. Finally getting the forestry exemption made permanent (I've had a 3yr temp No-loss determination on a corduroy atv trail which expires this summer) is a relief.

    Part of the problem with the geotextile in this application is how little firm soil there is to anchor it with. The shoulder of the road I'm connecting to is mushy until mid-july. Without something to tug on, the fabric will just sink too.
    5065E MFWD w/553 loader

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    Jim Timber's Avatar
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    15 day legal "comment period" and I'm exempt!

    I can start hauling rock as soon as I'm ready. :D
    5065E MFWD w/553 loader

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    Jim Timber's Avatar
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    First truck loads of stone will be coming in the morning. I still have some cutting to do yet, but I can start spreading it anyway.

    BigJim55 likes this.
    5065E MFWD w/553 loader

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    Jim Timber's Avatar
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    Started out with this:



    Added 5 of these:



    Ended up with this (so far):



    I called it quits after spreading 4 loads. The 4th had some boulders bigger than a pair of watermelon, and those really mess up spreadability.

    I'm going to end up hand loading the bucket to finish leveling this out, and also to place the big stuff along the edges. That should work well for erosion control.

    They ran out of the fist size rock we started with, so hopefully in a few weeks they'll have more when I'm ready for the next batch. Road weight restrictions start Thursday, and run for 8 weeks. I won't be able to get a full load until that's lifted - delivery is most of the expense for this stuff.
    blue87fj60 likes this.
    5065E MFWD w/553 loader

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