Road Maintenance

Roadside & Right-of-Way
Trees & Brush
County road crews remove and/or trim trees and brush in the road right-of-way for several reasons:
  • Improve sight distance
  • Reduce damage to vehicles
  • Increase sunlight to melt frozen roads
  • Reduce collisions with wildlife
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Mowing
Roadside mowing is done once a year.  A second mowing of high-traffic roads may take place if time allows. A 6-foot to 8-foot strip measured from the road edge will be mowed. Mowing is done with a brush type tractor mounted mower.


Spraying

The road right-of-way is sprayed periodically to control noxious weeds and brush.


Ditch Cleaning

As needed, ditches are cleaned out and reshaped to facilitate water removal from the roadway.


Gravel Roads
Pottawatomie County maintains nearly 1,000 miles of gravel or dirt roads. In general, gravel roads are narrower than paved roads and do not usually allow for 2 full lanes of traffic. Vehicles need to slow down and move over when meeting other vehicles, which will likely involve encountering loose gravel.

Due to the vast number of miles, and limited personnel and equipment availability, gravel is usually hauled to each road on an annual basis. The excess rock is piled on the side of the road as a stockpile for the year. Rock piled on the side of the road is county property and in no way shall be used, taken or modified by private citizens. See Kansas State Statute 68-545 for more information.

Driving on Loose Gravel
As needed, the motor grader operator drags this windrow from one side of the road to the other, leaving fresh gravel on the driving surface as needed. This will leave loose gravel on the road until it gets packed down again. Loose gravel greatly increases your stopping distance. 

It can be easy to lose control if you drive too fast on loose gravel. During the process of dragging the rock across the road, there may be a windrow of gravel down the center of the road. This is a good indication that there is probably a motor grader at work in the near vicinity. Please slow down and be cautious.

Dust Control
As traffic passes over the road, tires break down the limestone rock and create dust. As the volume of traffic increases, so does the creation of dust.

This dust can be carried by the prevailing winds and end up in nearby houses. The Public Works Department provides a dust control program to help offset the negative impact of dust; however, it will not completely eliminate the dust.

Water on Gravel Roads
When it rains, the surface of a gravel road can become soft and muddy.  While it may feel slippery or cause some shallow ruts, a properly designed road will still have a firm base beneath.


Once it firms up, a motor grader will blade the road to remove ruts and spread gravel out across the road. Heavy downpours can cause washed out areas along the shoulder, which will also be bladed out once the road dries up enough.

Gravel roads are designed with a crown shape to help discard water quickly. The county also cuts weep holes in the windrow to allow water to run off the road and into the ditch to help alleviate water sitting in or running down roadways.