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Author Topic: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?  (Read 2109 times)

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Offline bigtrees

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Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« on: August 14, 2018, 01:12:42 PM »
On the tree farm that I own, there is a run that runs east/west from one side of the property to another. It is not useful to me. The acerage I own (62 acres) is a portion of the original farm (~200 acres) and I do not own the property where the road leads.

The road runs up a hill. At the top of the hill, the builders of the road cut into the dirt by 1-2 feet to reduce the road grade.

Looking at the profile of the ground (perpendicular to the road), it looks something like this: ----\___/----.

I would like to retire this road. The primary objective is to use the former roadbed for growing trees (it's approximately an acre). It would make the most sense to me to bring in some dirt to fill the roadbed to bring the topography back to the normal terrain.

I haven't done much dirtwork. I'll hire someone to haul in maybe 45 to 60 cubic yards of dirt and then someone with a piece of equipment to spread the dirt around. 

Has anyone done this, and any comments about how to do it right? I'm unfamiliar with dirt work.

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2018, 01:48:24 PM »
I would probably dig into the bed to see if it has any fill before spending money on covering it up. If it is filled with rock or something like that it may not do well in tree growth. 
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Offline bigtrees

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2018, 02:03:29 PM »
I think what you are saying is there is concern that the previous owner might have brought in low quality fill dirt to create the rock bed, and the low quality fill dirt will result in poor growing conditions for planted trees?

There are trees all around the roadbed, so the native soil supports growth. It is true that I have not dug into the roadbed to see if it is native soil or if poor quality fill was brought in.

Is there anything, within reasonable cost effectiveness, that I can do if there is low quality fill present? The former roadbed is a bit of an eyesore.

Here it is from a Google Maps aerial photo. The left and right side of the picture correspond to the eastern and western property boundaries. The former roadbed is the one that runs left/right in the picture. It is not the one that curves around in the bottom half.



Zooming in is a closer look at the roadbed.



Offline TKehl

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2018, 03:42:41 PM »
May be a dumb question, but is the road part of an easement to the other property?
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Offline bigtrees

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2018, 04:12:14 PM »
May be a dumb question, but is the road part of an easement to the other property?
It's a good question, actually. Yup, it used to be an easement to the other property. It was pretty steep and made winter access difficult. Later the parcel owner obtained a second easement (the curvy road on the bottom half), and now the curvy road is the "official road." 

As part of my agreement to buy the property, I asked the seller to formally abandon the easement that the subject road is part of. They agreed and the abandonment is formally recorded with the county.

I don't want folks driving ATVs, etc, down it anymore. And it's ugly. Hence I why I would like to restore the topography and plant seedlings.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2018, 04:34:43 PM »
   May be a dumb thought but if not covering a bunch of rock fill or such that would hinder growth, as mentioned above, why worry about the fill? I'd be tempted to just plow it up and plant it as it is. 
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Offline DPatton

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2018, 07:20:03 PM »
Big trees,

How long is the cut portion of the roadbed? Iím asking because you said itís about 1í - 2í deep. At 18Ē in depth it would take 66+ cubic yards to fill a 12í wide section of road for just 100í in length. Not sure what your budget is but typically importing dirt is somewhat cost prohibitive unless you have the dirt to spare on site. 

If you do decide to haul in soil to fill the excavated area 60 cubic yards isnít that much dirt. That amount could easily be spread out and graded out by any decent operator with a medium to larger sized skidloader in a matter of a couple of hours.
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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2018, 08:56:15 PM »
I suspect that you will have to break up the old roadbed to allow the tree roots to penetrate rather than meet the resistance of the compacted soil/fill and simple turn.  You could end up with an old roadbed covered with stunted trees.
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2018, 09:04:12 PM »
Magicman is spot on. I have a run of utility line on our farm and the ground under it was abused for 40 years, I have subsoiled it, disced it, planted nurse crops, and babied it for years now and it is just finially holding a good stand of grass. 

You mentioned that the road is steep, that presents an erosion issue too. If you fill or plow it up it would be a good idea to incorporate some water bars into the plan so you don't loose all your top soil.
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Offline r.man

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2018, 09:35:14 PM »
I would vote for a test hole to see what you are dealing with. If the road builders just removed trees and drove over it then it is mostly a compaction issue but if they spread some sort of gravel then maybe it would be salvageable? Any chance the original soil is mounded up on one or both sides of the road? If it is still there a large hoe might do most of the decommissioning in one go, removing unwanted material, loosening what is left and respreading the original. Of course all of this hinges on a budget.
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Offline ST Ranch

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2018, 01:14:22 PM »
Agree with RMan of possibly reclaiming the site by using a large [40 Ton +] excavator to rip and rehab the travelled road bed and possibly respreads some of the original top soil back onto the surface.
However as per others comments regarding current site stability/erosion issues, you may compromise this by digging up the site.  [i.e. trying to dig up top soil and ripping subsoil may increase erosion problems.]

If you are trying to stop atv traffic, digging up and planting a few trees will probably have limited success. 

In any case, less might be better than more, - just leave it alone or possibly consider skidding in some dead and down logs from the adjacent forest to create a bit of a physical barrier and fill plant [randomly plant] some hardy larger stock tree seedlings next to the log debris to slowly reclaim the site.

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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2018, 09:47:34 PM »
If youre in clay soil then the builder almost certainly had to bring in shale or rock for a base.  Sandy soils maybe driveable as cut if the crown and ditching were pretty good.  Either way it looks like a pretty big project thatll likely take A LOT more fill than you think.  Maybe focus your efforts on filling and replanting only the entrance and putting up cable or mafia block if necessary.  

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Offline bigtrees

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2018, 02:58:24 PM »
 Here's a picture of what I'm considering. The area of fill is relatively small. The blue line is the natural topography, the red line is the approximate current topography. I'll like to fill to bring the red line up to the blue line.

The cut is only at the top and, to a lesser extend, the tow of the slope. In between no cuts were made. I don't think it'd take much more than 60 yards to get it back to natural topography.


Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2018, 04:02:49 PM »
   Why?

   Is the fill just for cosmetic reasons or is it draining or eroding there or something? Looks pretty stable in the picture to me.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative about it. If you want to restore it to original condition and do not have a more pressing need for your money, time, material and equipment then go for it.
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Offline Wudman

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2018, 04:19:09 PM »
 I would put some brush piles in it to block ATV traffic and generate some "thicket habitat / escape cover".  I would let Mother Nature take it from there.  She will regenerate it for you.  But that may not be your objective so discount if not appropriate.

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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2018, 05:16:28 PM »
I would like to retire this road. The primary objective is to use the former roadbed for growing trees (it's approximately an acre). It would make the most sense to me to bring in some dirt to fill the roadbed to bring the topography back to the normal terrain.
  My last post on this thread - I promise.

   If the true objective is to retire the road and use it for growing trees then all it appears you need to do is plow it up and plant trees. As mentioned above if the soil is greatly compacted it may take a dozer to plow deep enough to loosen the soil for the trees to grow well. If rock or other fill is a problem then other replacement/additional soil may be required otherwise nature will take over. If you want to block ATV traffic it can be done cheaper and easier. I ride my ATV on my place between trees like you show in your picture without issues so it would take more than blocking the old road to stop a dedicated/contrary rider.

  If you just want it to look like the rest of the terrain go ahead and bring in the fill. Good luck in your endeavors. WVS Out.

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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2018, 10:14:51 PM »
How many linear feet in length is that section you want to fill?  Looks like 2 or 3 feet deep by maybe 18 wide to me?  
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Offline gspren

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2018, 03:24:57 PM »
It looks to me like the extra soil was pushed to the sides.
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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2018, 12:23:02 AM »
I think I would leave it as is. Since this is a tree farm,  I'm assuming you will harvest timber sometime in the future. This road could be used for access with equipment either as a haul road or skid trail.  If it is planted and then you needed to use it for a harvest, you would destroy the younger planted trees in the process. I would also think that the difference in ages between the 1 acre of roadbed trees and the surrounding timber could create a dilemma for harvesting the younger planted trees since it will be a small area. 
But whatever you decide, good luck.  That's a nice looking property. 

Offline bigtrees

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2018, 10:09:49 AM »
 OK, I just got a bid on the job.

The bid estimated 360 yards of soil for the cut in the picture, plus a 100 yards for a couple other cuts not shown for a total of 460 yards. If I use 1/2 toposoil, 1/2 fill dirt, the cost total came to $11,000. About $8000 for material plus $3000 to spread it around and reseed afterwards.

Seems a little spendy to me, and the yardage estimate seems high (I readily agree that my original guess of 60 yards was not reasonable). But I'm probably looking at the vicinity of $8000 to $11000.

Would appreciate any comments folks have on the pricing of this job.


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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2018, 01:24:39 PM »
Just wrote a reply but it didn't work so here's the short version. Yardage doesn't seem too crazy to me a tri axle of dirt can get lost in a hole that size fast. Unless the guys a scam artist and is trying to pull one over on you it's really easy to get the yardage needed very accurately just cubic ft to yrds. No idea on pricing I work in construction right now but never do any of the buying just the spreading and digging :) but doesn't seem too far off that's a lot of trucks. One way to save money would be to fill halfway with straight fill and the rest 50/50 depending on quality that should be more then enough to grow a few trees.

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2018, 04:23:49 PM »
length x width x depth then add 20% for compaction. i know you dont want any but you will get some when its graded 

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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2018, 12:08:54 AM »
A triaxle disappears fast.  I hid 150 loads in 1 acre and still need more. 
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Re: Filling and abandoning a roadbed?
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2018, 08:32:00 AM »
length x width x depth then add 20% for compaction. i know you dont want any but you will get some when its graded
try 33% as compaction.  and yes a truckload is nothing. I have 4000 hours of big excavator experience and 20-30 loads don't get you that far. 
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