Nevada T Center University of Nevada, Reno/0257 Reno, NV 89557-0257

Nevada T2 Center
University of Nevada, Reno/0257
Reno, NV 89557-0257
Nevada Milepost
is published quarterly by the
Transportation Technology
Transfer Center at the University of Nevada, Reno. Its
purpose is to provide the latest information on transportation in a way that is useful
to local and county highway
personnel.
Nevada Milepost contains
original and rewritten material
compiled from reliable sources. It assumes no responsibility for the correctness of the
information.
The Nevada T2 Center is
part of the nationwide Local
Technical Assistance Program. It is financed jointly by
the Nevada Department of
Transportation, the Federal
Highway Administration and
the Washoe County Regional
Transportation Commission.
NONPROFIT
ORGANIZATION
U.S. Postage
PAID
Reno, NV
Permit No. 26
ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
Summer 2009
Maria Ardila-Coulson
Peter Sebaaly
Lisa Cody
Larry Lunz
Elie Hajj
Nevada Milepost:
Editor: Maria Ardila-Coulson
Photojournalist: Larry Lunz
Graphic Design: KCJ Creative
16
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
Vol. 21 No. 2
FOCUS
EROSION CONTROL
Nevada Milepost
Nevada T2 Center/257
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557
Ph: (775) 784-1433
FAX: (775) 784-1429
http://www.t2.unr.edu
T2 Center Staff
Nevada’s Technology Transfer Quarterly
How to keep gravel roads
in good shape
t
Seat belt crusader wouldn’t
buckle under
a
n Alabama congressmen who became
known as “Seat Belt” Roberts is not well
remembered today. But Kenneth Roberts
was the firebrand behind the first federal law requiring safety devices in all new American cars.
The popular myth in the mid-1950s was that
seat belts cause more injuries than they prevented.
Despite strong public and automaker opposition,
Roberts finally got legislation enacted in 1964 that
gave the General Services Administration oversight
of safety standards for federally
purchased cars.
The GSA mandated 17 safety
features, including padded instrument panels, safety door latches
and a uniform sequence for automatic transmissions (P-R-N-D-L). It
also required anchors where seat
belts could be installed, but not the
belts themselves.
Lobbyists for the automakers
immediately began watering down
the GSA’s regulations. Roberts’ law might have had
little impact if not for the events of 1965.
Grassroots groups joined the cause with
the publication of Ralph Nader’s landmark book,
Unsafe at Any Speed. Thirty medical doctors got
into the act by picketing the International Auto
Show in New York, demanding safer designs.
The growing uproar spurred a Senate subcommittee to hold public hearings on automobile
safety and to invite automakers to testify. When
pressed, GM officials admitted that their company
spent less than 0.1 percent of its profits on safety.
Feeling the political heat, President Lyndon
Johnson put his weight behind
an auto safety bill.
Successful legislation
led to the establishment of
the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration. It
applied the GSA’s standards
to all automobiles and further
required those built after 1967
to have seat belts.
Roberts lost his re-election bid but stayed
active by serving as a highway safety advisor.
here are more than 1.6 million miles of unpaved
roads (53 percent of all roads) in the United
States. The focus of this issue is to provide clear
and helpful information for doing a better job of maintaining and rehabilitating gravel roads. Very little technical help is available to small agencies responsible
for managing these roads.
Traditionally, gravel maintenance and rehabilitation has been more of an art than a science, and very
few formal standards exist. This leads to many arguments among grader operators, managers and motor- Maintaining and rehabiliting gravel roads has
been more of an art than a science.
ists over questions such as: What is enough surface
crown? What is too much? What causes corrugation?
The objective is to offer guidelines to help answer these and other questions about the maintenance and rehabilitation of gravel roads.
Section 1:
Routine maintenance
Understanding road cross sections
To maintain a gravel road properly, operators must clearly understand the need for the three basics:
a crowned driving surface, a shoulder that slopes directly away from the edge of the driving surface, and
a ditch. The shoulder and the ditch of many gravel roads may be minimal.
The basic shape of the cross section must be correct or a gravel road will not perform well, even
under very low traffic. The operator’s responsibility
is to maintain the shape of the road surface and the
shoulder. This is classified as routine maintenance.
Keeping the foreslope and ditch established
and shaped is often the maintenance operator’s
responsibility as well. Sometimes there is a need
for specialized equipment to do major reshaping of
the cross section, especially in very wet conditions.
However, the operator of routine maintenance equipment must do everything possible to take care of the
roadway; budgets often do not allow for the use of
extra equipment and manpower on gravel roads.
■
IN THIS ISSUE
■ How to do a better job
of maintaining and rehabilitating gravel roads
(p.1-7)
■ The Comstock Silver
Strike gave birth to Virginia City 150 years ago,
and the big birthday bash
is being celebrated this
summer (p. 10)
■ L2 on the Road shares
not only the late radio
commentator Paul
Harvey’s “Ode to Dirt
Roads” but also snippets
of his own idyllic life on
an unpaved road (p.11)
■ The Practical Man has
come across a device
that provides a tighter
surface on gravel roads
(p. 14)
■ Recycle Michael warns
“not so fast” in trading out
your old incandescent
light bulbs with compact
fluorescent lights. (p. 14)
■
ROUTING SLIP
Don’t file this Quarterly in
your inbox. Please — read
it, photocopy what you want,
initial below, and send it on,
especially to the frontline
troops.
_____________________
_____________________
_____________________
_____________________
_____________________
FOCUS
No-Brainer Mail-In Page
EROSION CONTROL
Your Name: ___________________________________________________________________
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Focus
Routine maintenance .....................1
Shaping principles..........................2
Crown.............................................3
Road shoulder................................4
Gravel road shaping principles
t
he motor grader is most often used for gravel road maintenance. However, other devices also can
work well. Front or rear-mounted grading attachments for tractors, road rakes and other devices
of various designs are sometimes used. The principles of shaping are the same no matter what
machine is used.
Phone: __________________________________Fax: _________________________________
Company/Organization: __________________________________________________________
Address: ______________________________________________________________________
Rehabilitation .................................5
Areas of concern .........................6-7
Humor
Gone fishin’ ....................................3
On the Job
Ergonomic workstation requires
proper design .............................5
Prevent post-vacation blues ...........5
Quotable Quotes
Workplace witticisms......................6
Safety
Paving safely at night .....................8
Safe mower operation ....................8
Identifying skin cancers..................8
Sun causes skin cancer .................8
Training
Intersection safety series
developed ...................................9
Highway specifications Web
site updated ................................9
More Roads Scholars make
the honor roll .......................12-13
In Nevada
Summer sizzle ...............................4
New assistant planning director
balances needs in tough
economy .....................................7
Virginia City throws
sesquicentennial celebration ...10
New signal light warns of
ultraviolet radiation ...................11
Rear View Mirror
Seat belt crusader wouldn’t
buckle under .............................16
Regular Features
“Road Smart” Contest ..................11
L2 on the Road .............................11
Recycle Michael ...........................14
The Practical Man ........................14
No-Brainer Mail-in Page ...............15
Operating speed
Operating speed in blading operations must
not be excessive. It is virtually impossible to do
good work above a top speed of 3 mph to 5 mph.
If the machine begins to “lope” or bounce, it will cut
depressions and leave ridges in the road surface.
Moldboard angle
The angle of the moldboard also is critical
to good maintenance. This angle is fixed on some
grading devices, but on motor graders it can be
adjusted easily. It is important to keep the angle
somewhere between 30 degrees and 45 degrees.
It is a challenge to recover loose aggregate
from the shoulder of the roadway without spilling material around the leading edge (toe) of the
moldboard. Operating without enough angle is a
primary cause of this spilling.
Moldboard pitch
Along with correct angle, it is important to
understand proper pitch or “tilt” of a moldboard. If
it is pitched back too far, the material will tend to
build up in front of it and will not fall forward and
move along to the discharge end of the blade.
This also causes excess material loss from
the toe of the machine. In addition, it reduces
the mixing action that is desirable when recovering material from the shoulder and moving it
across the roadway, leveling and smoothing it in
the process. This mixing action is part of routine
maintenance.
Traffic tends to loosen material from the road
surface and displace it to the shoulder as well as
between the wheel tracks. The stone will tend to
separate from the sand
and the fine-sized material. Concurrently, small
potholes and an uneven
surface will develop. It is
the job of the maintenance
operator to recover the
material, mix it again as it
rolls along the face of the
moldboard and to restore
good surface shape.
2
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
Motor grader stability
Sometimes it can be
hard to keep a machine
stable, especially while
carrying a light load of material. Counteracting
machine bounce or loping requires experience in
knowing the cause and then finding a solution. If a
motor grader begins to rock from side to side, it is
usually caused by blade angle that closely matches
the angle from corner to corner of the tires on the
rear tandems.
Generally, the solution is to stop, change
angle slightly on the moldboard and slowing
resume blading. Simply reducing speed will often
eliminate the loping effect of a machine.
Experimenting with different tire inflation
pressures can help stabilize a machine, as can
leaning the front wheels in the direction that material is being moved. Filling tires with liquid ballast
to about 70 percent capacity sometimes is done to
increase traction, weight and stability of the grader.
Articulation
Virtually all modern motor graders are
equipped with frame articulation. It can be an
advantage to slightly articulate the machine to stabilize it even in a common maintenance operation.
Windrows
In arid Western states like Nevada, it is
common to leave a small inventory windrow to be
picked up next time and worked back across the
road for filling small depressions. The windrow
should be placed near the edge of the roadway to
allow as great a width of travel as possible.
City: _________________________________________State: _________ZIP: _____________
If you have changed your address, telephone or fax number, please write them below and fax changes to (775) 784-1429
or e-mail to [email protected]
_____________________________________________________________________________
Circle
YES where appropriate
Do you want a free copy of Minimizing Low Volume Road Water Displacement on Gravel Roads? YES
Do you want to borrow Gravel Road Maintenance: Meeting the Challenge DVD/CD combo? YES
A complete list of the 2009 workshops is posted to our Web site at www.t2.unr.edu or call Lisa Cody at 775-784-1433.
The T2 Center would like to be able to communicate with you by e-mail. Do you have an e-mail address? If so,
please enter it here. _________________________________________________________________________
Please provide your answer to the “Road Smart Contest.” Identify the road and two nearest destinations.
_________________________________________________________________________________________
FAX this form to (775) 784-1429. Or fold it in three, close with tape and mail.
______________________________________
Motor graders are often used for gravel road
maintenance although other devices can work
well too.
PLACE
STAMP
HERE
______________________________________
______________________________________
University of Nevada, Reno
T2 Center/257
Reno, NV 89557-0179
FOCUS
EROSION CONTROL
RECYCLE MICHAEL
■ Mercury mess
When a compact fluorescent light bulb breaks in your
house, evacuate people and
pets from the room. Open a
window for at least 15 minutes
so no one breathes in the fine
mercury dust released from
the CFL bulb.
If the floor of the room is a hard
surface, you can scoop up the
debris with a piece of cardboard. The smallest particles
can be wiped up with a damp
paper towel. The EPA warns
that sweeping and vacuuming
is not thorough enough for
cleanup on hard floors.
When you’re finished, seal
the cardboard, paper towel
and broken pieces of the CLF
bulb into two layers of plastic
bagging.
On carpeting and other soft
surfaces, put on gloves and
pick up as many pieces as
you can of the broken light
bulb by hand or with the help
of sticky tape and dispose
of the material in a double
plastic bag.
If you need to vacuum to
remove the mercury dust
and other debris, remove
the vacuum bag and dispose
of it properly. Wipe out the
canister if the vacuum does
not have a bag.
Recycle Michael is as tight-fisted as his ol’ buddy the Practical Man is tight-lipped. He has the first dollar he ever
earned and expects the government to be frugal as well. He’s always on the lookout for ways to reuse things to
save a little money while helping to preserve the environment.
Shining the light on CFLs
u
tilities, environmentalists, retailers and government agencies encourage you to
swap out your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights to cut
electric use. But there’s a hitch.
Recycling efforts are unable to keep up with spent and broken CFLs. Only a small fraction of the nearly 500 million CFLs sold in the United States last year were recycled.
Mercury menace
This raises a potential health hazard with hundreds of millions of the bulbs being tossed in the trash
and ending up in landfills. Most CFLs contain about 4 to 5 milligrams of mercury, enough to cover the tip
of a ballpoint pen. This trace amount multiplied nearly exponentially can cause neurological disorders as
well as lung and kidney diseases in humans.
The mercury in the CFLs makes the collection process for recycling difficult. The EPA opposes
typical curbside recycling of the bulbs because of the danger of breakage. But no agencies oversee the
EPA’s recommended guidelines to double plastic bag CFLs before disposing of them. Furthermore, there
are no penalties for throwing CFLs into the trash in Nevada.
Limited option
Recycling always should be your first option. But if you happen to live in the far reaches of Nevada
where recycling centers aren’t available, follow the EPA recommendation to seal the bulbs in two layers of
plastic bagging.
To find out if recycling is an option in your area, contact Nevada Power or go online to earth911.org
to find the recycling center nearest to you. Enter “CFL” and your zip code.
Other ways also are available to identify local recycling options. These include the U.S. Recycling
Hotline at (800) 253-2687 and the EPA at epa.gov/bulb. In addition, some retail stores like Ace Hardware
and Home Depot now accept spent CFLs.
THE PRACTICAL MAN
The Practical Man tolerates no nonsense and minces few words. He doesn’t stand on formality and isn’t easily amused. He
grudgingly appears here to offer you hard-bitten practical advice to make your job easier.
Establishing proper crown
on gravel roads
e
stablishing proper crown in the gravel surface probably generates more controversy than any
other aspect of good maintenance. How much crown is enough? Can you build too much crown?
What is a recommended crown?
Problems develop quickly when a gravel road has no crown. Water will quickly collect on the road
surface during a rain and will soften the crust. This will lead to rutting which can become severe if the
subgrade also begins to soften. Even if the subgrade remains firm, traffic will quickly pound out smaller
depressions in the road where water collects and potholes will develop.
An operator also can build too much crown into the road surface. This can lead to an unsafe condition in which motorists do not feel comfortable staying on their side of the road. They begin to feel a slight
loss of control of the vehicle as it wants to slide toward the shoulder. As a result, motorists tend to drive
down the middle of the road regardless of how wide it is.
Recommendations from supervisors and skilled operators across the country indicate that at least
½ inch of crown per foot (approximately 4 percent) on the cross slope is ideal. It is also recognized that it
is impossible for any operator to maintain an absolutely uniform crown.
Crown gauges can be used to determine existing crown. Sophisticated electronic slope controls
also are available for graders.
Mitigating parabolic crown
The ideal shape for a crown is a straight line
from the shoulder up to the centerline of the road.
This gives the road the same shape as the roof of
a house, often referred to as a flat “A” shape.
However, this shape
sometimes can become
This is the ideal shape
rounded. The engineering
of a crown.
term for this is “parabolic
crown.” The middle portion of the road will have considerably less crown
than the outer edges. Water will not drain from the
middle, and potholes and ruts will form.
The greatest cause of parabolic crown is
excess water at the center of the cutting edge. This
is normal wear and will vary with types of gravel,
s
14
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
The tighter surface created by the steel
drum improves surface drainage by reducing infiltration into the gravel. Using the ripper hydraulics
to increase pressure on the drum applies considerable weight and develops a tight top surface.
Development of the pull-behind steel-drum
roller took 40 labor hours. Materials included the
steel drum, axle, 800-pound bearings, mounts,
frame and a scrapper bar for a total cost of
$3,000.
The Bighorn County boys told me that now
they can now provide a better ride with only a
slight increase in the time it takes to maintain the
road.
■ THE NEVADA
T2 CENTER
ADVISORY
BOARD
Delmo Andreozzi
City of Elko
Allen Bell
City of Mesquite
Kevin Carnes
USDA Forest Service
Ken Chambers
NDOT
Tie He
Nevada DOT, Carson City
Kevin Lee
Nevada DOT, Elko
Shital K. Patel
FAST, RTC Southern Nevada
Patrick Pittenger
Carson City Public Works
Tighter surface created by using
steel drum on gravel roads
ome of my buddies at the Bighorn County
Road & Bridge Department in Wyoming
have come up with a very effective device
that they’ve dubbed a pull-behind steel-drum roller.
The incentive was their desire to provide a
tighter surface after performing routine maintenance with a motor grader on some of their gravel
roads. After normal maintenance, the surface was
loose and formed ruts and washboards.
Their solution was to attach a steel drum
to the back of a motor grader. This let them apply
sufficient compaction for a tighter top surface,
reducing washboards, loose aggregate and rutting
on the top surface.
width of road, wheel path location and other factors. A good operator will make an effort to avoid
the parabolic shape on a roadway by keeping the
cutting edge straight.
A simple method to avoid the parabolic
shape is to use a cutting torch and straighten the
cutting edge whenever ½ inch to ¾ inch or more
of center wear exists. Another approach is to use a
thicker, harder section of cutting edge in the middle
of the moldboard to resist wear. This will retard
excess center wear but usually will not eliminate it.
Another option is to use the modern carbide-tipped bits on the cutting edge. These are
extremely wear resistant and dramatically reduce
center wear. There also are carbide inserts or carbide-faced cutting edges that are wear resistant.
Jim Poston
Washoe County RTC
Valerie Rodman
FHWA
Gone fishin’
HUMOR
A young boy was taking care of his baby sister while his parents went shopping
in town. He wanted to go fishing and decided to take his little sister with him.
When he got home, he complained to his mother. “I’m never taking Jill
with me again. She wouldn’t behave, and I didn’t catch a thing.”
“Jack,” his mother said, “don’t be that way about your little sister. I’m sure
she’ll be quieter the next time and won’t scare the fish away.”
Bob Russell
Washoe County RTC
Roger Sutton
City of Winnemucca
Kathy Sanchez
City of Reno
Paul Solaegui
President, Solaegui Engineers
Barbara Stearns
NDOT, Training Division
3
“It wasn’t that,” Jack said. “She ate all the bait!”
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
FOCUS
EROSION CONTROL
The essentials
of road shoulders
t
Road shoulders are
generally kept clear of
all traffic so that in an
emergency, the driver can
pull into it to get out of the
flow of traffic.
he road shoulder serves several essential functions. It is
there to support the edge of the traveled portion of the
roadway. But another important function is to provide a
safety area for drivers to regain control of vehicles if forced
to leave the road surface. Yet another vital function is to carry
water further away from the road surface to the foreslope and
ditch.
For the shoulder to perform all of these functions, its
shape is critical. First, the shoulder should meet the edge of
the roadway at the same elevation. In other words, the shoulder should be no higher or no lower than the edge of the roadway. By maintaining this shape, the low
shoulder or drop-off is eliminated (a safety hazard which also reduces roadway edge support).
High shoulders
When a gravel road develops a high shoulder or what engineers call a secondary ditch, it destroys
the drainage of water directly from the surface to the real ditch.
This process causes several problems. In relatively level terrain, the water collects and seeps into
the subgrade, often causing the whole roadway to soften. In rolling and rugged terrain, the water quickly
flows downhill along the secondary ditch, often eroding away a large amount of gravel and even eroding
the subgrade. This also creates a serious safety hazard.
Causes of high shoulders
High shoulders can develop from improper maintenance, such as losing material from the toe of
a grader’s moldboard or from cutting too deep at the shoulder line with the toe of the machine. This is a
particular problem when the cutting edge is not kept reasonably straight.
But there are other causes. Fast traffic can cause excessive “whip-off” of loose material, which
tends to build up along the shoulder line. Heavy loads on gravel roads with weak subgrades also can
cause this. When heavy vehicles have to travel near the shoulder while meeting other vehicles, the roadway can rut while the shoulder area shoves upward.
■ Summer
Sizzle
Laughlin is second only to
Laredo, Texas, for the most
record high temperatures in
the United States. The highest recorded temperature in
Laughlin was 125° F, which
was reached June 29, 1994.
The temperature also stands
as the record high temperature for Nevada.
4
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
Recovering and spreading on roadway
When a motor grader is the only piece of equipment used on the job, usually more than one pass
will be required to recover material from high shoulders.
If there is little or no vegetation on the shoulder, simply extend the moldboard out into the shoulder
material and begin to pull it onto the roadway. If the amount of material is light, you may be able to do
this in one pass. The material recovered is often good gravel that needs to be returned to the roadway
surface.
Breaking up sod and vegetation
Quite often the material pulled
out onto the roadway from the shoulder is very hard to spread because
of the vegetative material in it. It
will require multiple passes with the
grader to get the job done.
Many agencies are turning to
other mechanical means of breaking
up the material to make the road safe
for traffic. This can range from something as simple as a disk or drag to
sophisticated pulverizing equipment.
TRAINING
More Roads Scholars
of equipment.
He says one of his job goals is helping to
educate his crew. “The greatest challenges I face
are working with the pubic and dealing with the
traffic on Interstate 80.”
John says he has enjoyed the T2 Center
classes and has found them to be “very interesting.”
Equipment operations instructor Glen
Rogers has worked for
NDOT in Las Vegas for
three years. He is responsible for teaching vehicle
operators safe and efficient
use of construction equipment. He is well qualified
for his job, having spent 20
years in the Navy on heavy
Glen Rogers
equipment operation.
“I want to ensure that
my students comprehend and master the new
skills I teach them,” he confesses. As for himself,
Glenn says that the Roads Scholar Program was
“essential” for him to learn and advance.
Employed with NDOT
in Las Vegas for 20 years,
Kenny Smith is a highway
maintenance worker III, who
among his duties, operates
heavy equipment.
“I want to become
a better employee and
advance to a higher position,” he says. “I plan to use
information that I learned
Kenny Smith
from the T2 Center classes to
achieve these goals.”
He sees his greatest challenge as keeping
NDOT employees and the public safe in work zones.
Troy Teixeira has worked for the City of
Reno for three years and is a maintenance worker
I. His main duty is asphalt
maintenance on city streets.
“My greatest challenge
on my job is working with the
public and dealing with heavy
traffic,” he admits.
“I liked all the workshops I took from the T2
Center and found them very
informational,” he says. “My
favorite class though was
Troy Teixeira
Winter Survival.”
NDOT 19-year veteran
Tommy Thompson is a highway maintenance
supervisor II in Las Vegas. He is responsible for
overseeing and coordinating maintenance tasks
for assigned sections involving up to four highway
maintenance supervisors under him.
“My main goals are to insure that the crews
who fall under my supervision are accident and
injury free,” he says. “I
also want to become the
most efficient and supportive supervisor that I can
be. This involves dealing
well with people and their
unique personalities.”
Tommy says that
the T2 Center Program is
a “great learning tool” for
Tommy Thompson
NDOT employees.
For more information about
the Road Scholar
program, please visit our
Web site at www.t2.unr.edu.
A complete list of the 2009
workshops is posted to the
site or you can call Lisa Cody
at (775) 784-1433.
13
Road shoulders provide a safety area for drivers to retain control
of their vehicles.
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
FOCUS
TRAINING
EROSION CONTROL
Section 2:
Rehabilitation of gravel roads
12
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
Rick Coral has been with the City of Reno for 10
years and is a maintenance worker I. He does
street, sign and right-of-way
maintenance and guardrail
installation and repair.
“My greatest challenge
on the job is learning new
technologies,” he says.
Rick contends that the
T2 Center’s classes are “very
good.” He says, “I came
away from them with a lot
Rick Coral
of valuable information for
everyday use.”
Bill Griffey has been
with NDOT in Reno for four years and is a highway
maintenance worker III. His duties involve operating equipment, paving and snow removal.
“My job goal is to learn
how to operate more equipment,” he says. “My greatest challenges on the job
are public safety and crew
safety while operating snow
removal equipment.”
Bill asserts that his
favorite T2 Center class
was Snow & Ice Control.
“Finishing the Roads Scholar
Program was a real achieve- Bill Griffey
ment,” he says proudly.
Just like Griffey, Joshua Jay has been with
NDOT in Reno for four years and is a maintenance
worker III. But his responsibilities are different. He
works on the sign and lighting crew doing new
installation and maintenance.
“My job goals are
to learn as much as I can
and to teach others what
I’ve learned,” he says. “The
greatest challenge I face is
constantly working on new
technical projects.”
Joshua advises,
“Anyone who works in road
construction and mainteJoshua Jay
nance should take the T2
Center’s classes because
you can learn a lot of useful information.”
Danny Jordan has been a highway maintenance worker II with NDOT in Las Vegas for three
years. His maintenance duties include operating a
loader, guardrail repair and highway clean up. He
also helps with traffic control during accidents in
work zones.
“I want to learn more
on the job and through
the T2 Center programs to
become a better employee,”
he says. “The greatest challenge is helping to keep
NDOT crews and the public
safe in work zones.”
Employed by NDOT
Danny Jordan
in Las Vegas for 10 years,
Kevin Killian is a highway
maintenance supervisor I.
He is responsible for running a night maintenance
crew. “Trying to deal with vendors and other support people who work during the day is probably
the hardest thing I have to
do. I must rely on others to
communicate my needs to
these people.”
“My primary goal is to
maintain a trained crew who
are capable of accomplishing any task that they are
asked to do,” he states. “The
T2 Center provides my crew
and me the chance to learn Kevin Killian
new skills and refresh those
skills that are not used
every day.”
NDOT 20-year veteran
Mike Palzet is a highway
maintenance supervisor I
in Las Vegas. He is snow
removal certified and in
charge of a six-man crew
who do storm water maintenance and concrete repair
on drains and culverts.
His goal is to work 30
years
at NDOT and retire.
Mike Palzet
“The greatest challenges
for me on the job are heavy
traffic and the intense Las Vegas summer heat,”
he says.
Mike identifies his
three favorite T2 Center
classes as Winter Survival,
Summer Survival and Work
Zone Traffic Control.
John Picetti works
for NDOT in Fernley as a
highway maintenance worker
II. With the department for
10 years, he is an equipment
John Picetti
operator on all major pieces
g
ravel roads gradually begin to show distress that requires more than routine maintenance to correct. At certain intervals, every gravel road requires some major rehabilitation. Reshaping of the
driving surface and road shoulder can be done by cutting material with the motor grader and relaying it to the proper shape and crown. If possible, the use of a roller for compaction will greatly improve the
finished surface. This will leave a denser, stronger, smoother surface that will be easier to maintain.
Severe rutting, loss of crown, gravel loss and deep secondary ditches –– a combination of any two
or more of these calls for a major reshaping. This often has to be done on the entire cross section, and it
may have to be done immediately regardless of vegetative growth. Motor graders, disks, pulverizers and
rollers are often needed. These are not always available but certainly make the job easier.
The field supervisor’s knowledge and the operator’s skill in understanding how to rebuild the cross
section becomes very important. These projects seldom have the benefit of much planning or technical
assistance. Seldom is any surveying or staking done. But it is vital to rebuild a uniform cross section and
pay attention to restoring good drainage. Only after this is done correctly should good surface gravel be
replaced.
■ Prevent postvacation
blues
Even if your vacation has
relaxed and recharged you,
getting back to work can soon
make you feel listless and
unmotivated. Here are tips
to alleviate the symptoms of
post-vacation letdown.
„
Pace yourself. We tend to
have high expectations
of what we can get out of
our vacations. So we tend
to overplan or overbook
ourselves for time meant
to relax. Make sure you’re
not trying to do so much
that you never relax and
regret it when you return
home.
„
Schedule your return a
couple of days early. Give
yourself a day or so between vacation and going
back to work; it can help
ease the transition to your
duties.
„
Let others know your
plans. It is always good
workplace practice to let
people know you’re away
and to provide them with
alternative contacts. Arrange for messages on
your voice mail and e-mail.
It can reduce the number
of messages waiting to be
returned.
„
Ease into it. If you can
arrange it, make your first
day back a half day. You
can take care of the most
pressing matters with this
time.
ON THE JOB
Ergonomic workstations require
proper design for employees
e
rgonomics is the science concerned with
designing and arranging workstations that
are safe and efficient.
Employees who work at a computer are
at high risk of developing injury due to repetitive
movement. An ergonomic workstation greatly
reduces the risk of office injury, encourages good
posture and provides the least amount of stress on
the body.
A properly designed and arranged workplace
is worth the time and effort to create. Employees
will experience less discomfort, be more productive
and better enjoy their work.
Office chair
Buy a chair with an adjustable seat height,
adjustable back angle with lumbar support and with
armrests. All three are important to reduce strain
and injury while lumbar support for the lower back
will decrease back
fatigue. To adjust
the chair, first set
the seat height so
your knees are at
an angle between
90 degrees and 110
degrees, with your
feet resting flat on
the floor or a footrest
and your thighs
parallel to the floor. Second, set the back angle so
your hips are at a 90-degree angle. Third, adjust
armrests low enough not to interfere with mouse
use.
Computer monitor
Place the monitor directly in front of the keyboard at a height so your eyes land on the top onethird of the screen while looking straight ahead.
This will reduce the risk of neck and shoulder pain.
Also, place the monitor at a comfortable distance
to reduce eye strain.
Keyboard and mouse
Some of the most common computer-related
injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, come from
improper placement of the keyboard and mouse.
First, buy an adjustable tray for the keyboard
and mouse. Second, adjust the tray at a proper
height so your elbows are at a 90-degree angle
while your wrists remain straight and relaxed.
Third, place the mouse at the same height as the
keyboard and within easy reach. Elbows should be
at your side and close to the body while working.
Breaks
Take frequent breaks throughout the day to
stretch and refocus. Stretch your back, neck, wrists
and forearms to reduce stress and allow work to be
more comfortable for longer periods of time.
5
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
FOCUS
EROSION CONTROL
■ Quotable
quotes
Workplace
witticisms
Work is the greatest thing
in the world, so we should
always save some of it for
tomorrow.
– Don Herold
Nothing is so embarrassing
as watching your boss do
something you assured him
couldn’t be done.
– Earl Wilson
I like work; it fascinates me.
I can sit and look at it for
hours.
– Jerome K. Jerome
The reason why worry kills
more people than work is
that more people worry than
work.
– Robert Frost
6
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
IN NEVADA
Areas of concern for gravel roads
t
here are special situations in gravel road maintenance that should be addressed. They are
common to nearly all gravel roads, and it is essential to understand how to deal with them. These
concerns are unique to gravel roads and practical
solutions are recommended for each of them.
Corrugation
The technical term is corrugation, but
virtually everyone in the field refers to the problem
as washboarding.
There are three primary causes: driving habits, lack of moisture and poor quality of
gravel. Driving habits are clearly evident when you
observe washboarding at intersections, going up
or down steep hills, leading into or out of sharp
curves and sometimes even near driveways. These
are all places where drivers tend to accelerate hard
or brake aggressively.
Lack of moisture will encourage washboard
formation. Nevada’s prolonged dry weather can
greatly aggravate the situation. The crust that forms
on the surface of a good gravel road will tend to
loosen. This allows the stone and sand-sized particles of gravel to “float,” and the material can easily
align itself into the washboard pattern under traffic.
The two causes just mentioned are completely out of the control of gravel maintenance
operators and managers. The third primary cause
— the quality of the gravel — is what we need to
concentrate on.
Good quality surface gravel must have the
right blend of stone, sand and fines. The stone
should be fractured, and the fine-sized particles
should have a binding characteristic, technically called “plasticity.” This type of gravel resists
washboarding.
Virtually any gravel will develop some washboard areas under traffic. The key for the maintenance operator is to strive to keep the material
blended. In dry conditions, the operator can only
smooth the road temporarily. When moisture is
present, it pays to quickly get out and rework
these areas.
The material should be cut to a depth of 1
inch or more below the depressions, mixed and
relayed to the proper shape. If time allows, using
the machine to apply wheel compaction to material
will help reform the crust. If possible, the use of a
roller will improve the compaction.
Gravel intersections
At controlled intersections, the primary road
should retain its crown, and the intersecting roads
should have their crowns gradually eliminated
beginning approximately 100 feet before the inter-
section. At the point of intersection, the side roads
are virtually flat to match the primary road.
When the intersection is uncontrolled, the
roads should all have the crown gradually eliminated approximately 100 feet from the intersection.
The intersection becomes virtually flat, allowing
vehicles to pass through without a noticeable hump
or dip from any direction. Be careful not to make
the intersection lower so that water collects there.
Intersections with paved roads
The rule for shaping these intersections is
always the same. Begin to eliminate the crown on
the gravel road approximately 100 feet from the
edge of the pavement. At the intersecting point,
the gravel should match the paved surface. This
requires continual attention because potholes
can easily develop at the edge of the pavement.
However, be careful not to push gravel out onto the
pavement because this causes a dangerous loss
of skid resistance on the pavement.
The technique of “backdragging” is useful in
these operations. When filling a pothole at the edge
of the pavement, extra material may spill onto it.
Simply pick up the moldboard and set it down in
front of the material, then back up and spread the
excess back on the gravel road.
Bridge approaches
Once again, the rule for shaping a bridge
approach is always the same. Approximately 100
feet from the bridge, begin to gradually take the
crown out of the gravel road so that you can match
the bridge deck as closely as possible.
Potholes can easily form at the edge of the
deck. Keep them filled but don’t push gravel onto
the deck.
Super elevation at curves
So-called “banking a curve” is one of the biggest challenges in gravel road maintenance. It also
is not very well understood by many operators. The
outer edge of the roadway is higher than the inside
edge, and the road surface is shaped straight from
the upper to the lower edge.
As the operator approaches a curve, adjustments should be made with the blade to take out
the normal crown and begin to transition into a
straight, super-elevated surface. This shape should
be maintained uniformly throughout the curve. A
gentle transition is then made at the other end
back to a normal crowned road surface when you
are once again on a straight section of road.
Traffic will tend to displace the gravel toward
the upper end of the road, and the inside of the
Continued on page 7
“Road Smart” contest
For each issue of the Nevada Milepost, field representative Larry
Lunz (“L2 on the Road”) submits a photograph from his trips across
the Silver State for the “Road Smart” contest.
How to play
To win a handsome prize that will make you the envy
of all your co-workers, you need to be the first to identify the stretch of road in the accompanying photograph. Specifically, you need to identify the road and two nearest destinations.
If you think you know the road and location, write it in where indicated on the No-Brainer Mail-In
Page. If you’re the first person to fax the T2 Center with the correct information, you win! It’s that easy.
Private sector prize winner
What’s your best guess
as to the location of
this road? Send in your
answer on the
“No Brainer” page.
First correct answer
by fax is the
Road Smart winner!
Civil engineer David Pulley with C&M Engineering and Design is the latest “Road Smart” contest winner.
He was the first to identify the photograph in the Spring 2009 issue of the Nevada Milepost as Old
Highway 40 between West Wendover and the Ola interchange. The Nevada T2 Center recognized David’s
road knowledge by presenting him with a kit containing a compass, pocket knife and flashlight.
L2 ON THE ROAD
Larry Lunz = L2
Life runs smooth
on an unpaved road
w
e live out in the country on a dirt and gravel road. I love it despite its
washboards, pot holes and dust. We and the five other families on
this private road just forked out money to have it graded. It’s a dead
end, so there’s not much traffic. I guess you could say it’s off the beaten path.
Among the reasons I’m attached to this road is because you can walk right down the middle of it
without getting run down. (Accompanying photo shows L2’s penchant for accustoming himself to the middle
of roads.) You and a neighbor can stop in your cars and talk out the windows without causing a traffic jam.
It just makes for a slower pace of life.
Recently deceased long-time radio commentator Paul Harvey said it best in his “Ode to Dirt Roads”:
„ Dirt roads build character. People who live at the end of a dirt road learn life is a bumpy ride, but
it’s worth it, if waiting at the other end is home, a loving spouse, happy kids and a frisky dog.
„ Our values were better when our roads were worse. People didn’t worship their cars more than
their kids. And motorists are more friendly and courteous on a dirt road. You don’t tailgate, or the
guy in front of you will choke you with dust and pelt you with rocks. Dirt roads teach patience.
„ If it rains and the dirt road gets washed out, you get to stay home and have some family time.
„ Most paved roads lead to trouble, but dirt roads are more likely to lead to a fishing creek or a
swimming hole. Criminals do not go two dusty miles to rob or rape if they know they’ll be welcomed by five barking dogs and a double-barrel shotgun.
„ Living at the end of a dirt road, the only time we lock our car is in August, because if we don’t
some neighbor will fill it with too much zucchini.
■ New signal
light warns
of ultraviolet
radiation
The new signal installed on
U.S. Highway 395 near Gardnerville’s maintenance facility
resembles a traffic light, but
it warns people of the sun’s
ultraviolet radiation.
Simply put, it measures how
much sun protection people
need when outdoors. The
stack of five lights range from
a low of green when it’s safe
to be outside without sun protection to an extreme of violet
when it is best to try to avoid
exposure to the sun.
The signal faces away from
oncoming traffic so motorists won’t confuse it with a
traffic light.
The local Knights of Columbus, who paid $2,195 for the
signal, hope to install a similar
mechanism in neighboring
Minden.
11
Us and the other families on our unpaved road watch out for each other and, like Mr. Harvey’s neighbors, share vegetables from our gardens. Whenever it snows some of us are always out with our tractors
clearing the road. It’s not work, it’s fun pulling together.
Life is good for us country folk on our little dirt road.
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
FOCUS
IN NEVADA
■ Famous
Comstock
personage
The most famous of Virginia
City’s luminaries during the
Comstock period in the mid19th century was Samuel Clemens. It was as a reporter on
one of the city’s newspapers,
the Territorial Enterprise, that
he first plied his writing trade
and adopted the pen name
Mark Twain. Years later he
would recreate his colorful
Comstock adventures in his
book Roughing It.
Virginia City acted as a silver
magnet to many up-and-comers, such as Twain, who made
their fortuitous stake in the
Comstock, or soon after laid
claim to fame and fortune.
Among the latter was George
Hearst, who went on to establish his vast newspaper
empire. Another was John
MacKay, who would form the
company that laid the first
transatlantic telegraph cable.
Some of the most masterful
achievements in the Comstock were accomplished by
European immigrants. German Philip Deidesheimer invented the square-set method
of timbering that supported
crumbling rock and enabled
shafts to be dug to depths of
more than 3,000 feet.
Austrian Adolph Sutro, who
planned and built a 4-milelong tunnel from the Comstock to the Carson River
to drain scalding water from
the mines, used a significant
portion of his money made in
Nevada to help beautify San
Francisco.
The most notorious woman
in the Comstock was classy
courtesan Julia Bulette, who
relocated from New Orleans.
When she was murdered
in 1867, virtually the entire
male population of Virginia
City turned out for her funeral.
They turned out again to see
her alleged murderer hanged.
The town’s women were also
there, but for the expressed
purpose to mourn his death
with hymns and flowers.
Profile
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
Areas of concern
A celebration
for Virginia City
t
his summer Virginia City celebrates its 150th
birthday. The exact date of its inception is lost
The 19th century mining boom turned Virginia City
to history. But the town hosted its centennial
into the most important settlement between Denver
on June 12, 1959, when then Vice President Richand San Francisco.
ard Nixon joined in the festivities.
in today’s dollars would be worth $16 billion. Most
The Comstock silver strike gave birth to
of this wealth came from more than 750 miles of
Virginia City, which for a time was the most
tunnels underneath the streets of Virginia City.
important settlement between San Francisco
and Denver. The rich diggings turned the grubby
Economy
prospectors into instant millionaires who built manVirginia City’s economy is primarily dependent
sions, imported furniture and fashions from Europe
on tourism and county government. With about
and the Orient, and helped finance the Civil War.
950 residents, it is the seat for Storey County. To a
At its pinnacle in the 1860s, Virginia City
small extent, mining is still a factor in its economy.
was a boisterous town of 30,000
people operating 24 hours a day.
Climate
For celebrities of the day, the much
At an elevation of 6,200 feet,
anticipated stop was a highly lucraVirginia City’s winter temperatures
tive part of their Western tours.
range from night lows of 10 degrees
The Comstock metropolis
to daytime highs of 60 degrees. In
boasted daily newspapers, competthe summer, nighttime lows range
ing fire companies, fraternal orgafrom 40 degrees to day highs of 90
nizations, five police precincts and
degrees.
the first Miners Union in the United
States. Operating out in the open
Attractions
with other legal commerce were the
Virginia City is remarkably the
opium dens and a thriving red light
same as it was during its heyday
district. The six-story International
with wooden sidewalks, restored
Hotel featured the West’s first elevamansions, the 1877 Storey County
tor, called a “rising room.”
courthouse and jail, Territorial
A devastating fire in 1875 laid
Enterprise newspaper museum,
The 1877 Storey County
the town in near ruin, destroying
Court House in Virginia City
mine tours, “Old West” saloons and
2,000 buildings. But the resolute
still stands today.
Piper’s Opera House.
residents rebuilt the town in just a
The Virginia & Truckee
year. Most of the buildings you see
Railroad has been restored between
today date from that time.
Virginia City and Gold Hill and is open for train
The Comstock Lode generated a spectacular
rides. The train winds its way through much of the
amount of wealth — more than $700 million, which
Comstock Historic District, which encompasses the
mines and the town of Virginia City, Gold Hill and
Silver City.
10
Visitors can experience the Old West by walking
down C Street, which features board sidewalks in
front of restored 1870s buildings.
EROSION CONTROL
Events
Virginia City offers a smorgasbord of events
to attract tourists. These creations include the
Mountain Oyster Cook-Off in March followed by
another culinary favorite, the Comstock Chilli CookOff in May.
Independence Day is celebrated in patriotic
cowboy fashion with a parade and fireworks. The
International Camel Races are run in September,
followed the next month by the most unusual
extravagance –— the International Outhouse
Races.
continued from pg.6
curve will become lower. Curves very easily can go
out of proper shape.
The correct amount of slope or “banking” of
a curve can only be determined by engineering
analysis. There also is a device called a ball bank
indicator for determining the safe speed of a curve.
When you are unsure of correct shape on a curve,
get professional advice if at all possible.
Railroad crossings
Maintaining a road that intersects a rail
crossing is very similar to bridge approaches or
intersections with paved roads. Always begin to
eliminate the crown approximately 100 feet away
and shape the road to match the crossing.
Be extremely careful to keep gravel out of
the flangeways along the rails. This can cause a
derailment — particularly when it combines with
snow pack. Also be extremely careful not to strike
the rails. If you snag or strike a rail with your equipment, report it immediately to your supervisor and
the railroad.
Driveways
The public road always should retain its
normal crowned shape in front of driveways. Too
often the gravel builds up on the road at a driveway
entrance. This changes
the shape of the roadway,
which can cause loss of
control of vehicles. These
situations need to be
reshaped.
The driveway
entrance always should match the edge of the
public road.
Cattle guards
Cattle guards are a special maintenance
challenge when installed on gravel roads, The
approach to them should be treated much like
blading up to a bridge deck. Begin to eliminate normal crown 50 feet to 100 feet from the guard. The
road must then be shaped to match the
cattle guard.
However, gravel must never be spilled into
the cavity below the gate. If this is done repeatedly,
the hollow area below will be filled with gravel and
cattle simply will walk out.
Stop the grader 2 feet or 3 feet from the
guard and back-drag loose material away from
it. Then, hand work will often have to be done at
the edge of the cattle guard to maintain a smooth
crossing for traffic.
Railroad crossings are
one area of concern for
gravel road maintenance
because gravel must
be kept out of the
flangeways along the
rails.
Profile
Assistant planning director
balances needs in tough economy
t
racy Larkin-Thomason became NDOT’s
assistant director of planning in 2008. She
stepped into her new position after 21 years
with the department. She oversees research,
traffic information, intermodal transportation,
program development, roadway systems and operational analysis divisions.
“The greatest challenges I face on the job
are balancing NDOT’s needs and programs in
face of the rough economy and the effects of the
federal stimulus package,” Tracy acknowledges.
This balancing act pervades all her departmental responsibilities. These include the major
corridor studies, rail and multimodal plans, and
research and transit programs.
Tracy joined NDOT in 1987 as a engineer technician trainee before being promoted
through the engineering technician series. In
1994, she began her rise through the Bridge
Division to become a Staff III Engineer.
In 1997, Tracy transferred to NDOT District
II in Reno as its traffic engineer. She was
named assistant district engineer for maintenance in 2002, where for six years she oversaw
northwestern Nevada maintenance activities.
Tracy is a graduate of the University of
Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s of science
degree in civil engineering. She is a registered
professional engineer in the State of Nevada, a
certified traffic operations engineer and president of the Certified Public Managers Society of
Nevada.
Born in Massachusetts and raised in
upstate New York, Tracy lives with her husband, Jeff, and their 13-year-old son near
Stagecoach, east of Carson City. Her hobbies
are drawing and rock collecting.
Tracy asserts that she is a “big fan” of
the Nevada T2 Center. “As the assistant district
engineer in NDOT’s District II,” she says, “I used
the Center’s resources constantly for standard
and unique training.”
Tracy Larkin-Thomason
became NDOT’s assistant
director of planning in
2008.
7
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
SAFETY
■ Paving safely
at night
Night paving always comes
with risks. But there are measures you can take to minimize risks:
† Hold frequent safety meetings –– nightly if needed
— to raise employee
awareness of work zone
safety. Complacency is
the enemy. A buddy system can work well.
Safe mower
operation
FHWA develops intersection
safety series
„
any proven and effective safety countermeasures have been developed specifically for intersections over the years, but implementation has been slow in
coming.
To facilitate implementation of the wide variety of safety improvements available for
both signalized and unsignalized intersections, as well as to market and promote knowledge and use of these countermeasures, the Federal Highway Administration has developed a series of easy-to-read one-page guide sheets.
Most of the information in the guide sheets is from two volumes of the NCHRP
Report 500: Volume 5 — A Guide for Addressing Unsignalized Intersection Collisions; and
Volume 12 — A Guide for Reducing Collisions at Signalized Intersections.
The FHWA Web site contains full sets of 77 sheets available to view or download.
Each sheet contains an image of the countermeasure, a description and information
(including keys to success), issues to consider, known effectiveness, implementation, time frames and
costs, and compatibility with other countermeasures.
A one-sheet brochure is also available with summaries of all 77 countermeasures, a visual key
indicating the typical implementation times, the safety concerns and estimated costs. The brochure
is available in printed form and on the FHWA Web site, with links to both HTML and PDF versions
of the full guide sheets. The Web and PDF versions of the materials are available at safety.fhwa.dot.
gov/intersections/intsafestratbro.
„
† Spacing
the work zone’s
cones or barricades even
more closely than specified can help prevent impatient drivers from jumping into your space behind
the cones. If the specification calls for 120-foot
intervals, you might want
to use 60-foot intervals.
† Use one or more Nevada
Highway Patrol cars or police cars — with their light
bars flashing — in critical
locations near your work
zone. Police cars can even
do “rolling road blocks” by
cruising through the zone
at a reduced speed.
† Use
plenty of light and
avoid shining lights toward traffic. Some project
officials don’t use light
towers and rely on extra
equipment lights. Experience shows that motorists’
eyes are easily diverted to
a light source, which can
cause accidents.
† Signage
and message
boards usually make flaggers unnecessary on highvolume highway projects.
If flaggers are necessary,
make sure they are well
lighted.
8
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
TRAINING
„
„
„
Before starting any mower, make sure it is
completely lubricated, adjusted and checked
for loose nuts and bolts. Check the chain
guard and other mower covers intended to
keep debris from being thrown.
Replace broken or missing debris guards
immediately; don’t operate a mower without
them. A small rock or pieces of cans and
bottles become dangerous projectiles when
launched by a mower. Cover all v-belts, drive
chains and power take-off shafts.
Shut off power before checking any mower
unit. Block the mower before changing or
sharpening a blade. Any blade being reinstalled should be checked for cracks or damage that will lead to failure.
Avoid mowing with a regular unit on slopes
that rise or fall away more than one foot in
2.5 feet of horizontal distance. Use a sidemounted mower or a boom and keep the tractor unit on the gently sloped surface.
Operate side-mounted or boom mower units
on the uphill side of the tractor, where pos-
„
„
„
„
sible, to further diminish the possibility of
overturning.
Raise mowers when crossing driveways and
roadways.
Face oncoming traffic as much as possible
when mowing around hazard markers, signs
and guardrails near the edge of the roadway
to watch for out-of-control vehicles.
Place a Slow Moving Vehicle sign (reflective
triangle) on the rear of tractors. Use rotating
yellow beacons on the tractors and install yellow flashers on the roll bar or top of the tractor
cab. Operate the flashers at all times. Install an
orange pennant on a whip to show the location
of the tractor over the edge of slopes. Use the
tractor’s headlights at all times.
Wear hearing protection and a safety vest.
Wear a hard hat and safety goggles to protect
yourself from branches and flying debris. Wear
leather gloves and boots that have hard toes
and soles.
Identifying skin cancers
o
ne third of all new cancers are skin cancer. About one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. The good news is that skin cancer prevention and early detection are easy and,
if caught early enough, most skin cancers are curable. Watch for these warning signs:
„ Actinic keratosis is a precancerous lesion that looks like a patch of dry skin that won’t go away.
It can measure anywhere from one-quarter inch to one inch in diameter, is slightly raised, and
can be tan, brown, gray or red.
„ Basal cell carcinoma is a tumor that appears either as a slow-growing, fleshy, translucent
bump on the head, neck or hands, or more rarely as a flat growth on the trunk of the body.
„ Squamous cell carcinoma is a red, scaly patch typically found on the ear, face, lips and mouth.
It may spread to other parts of the body or develop into large masses.
„ Malignant melanoma may appear without warning, or it may begin in or near a mole or dark
spot on the skin. It often begins as a light-brown to black, flat blemish with irregular borders.
One of the best ways to detect melanoma is to check your skin regularly for any changes,
especially in the size, height, shape, color, texture on sensation of a mole.
Sun causes skin cancer
Ultraviolet radiation, or UV rays, are the leading cause of skin cancer. The more intense the sun, the
greater your exposure to UV. The amount of UV you are exposed to depends on the following:
„ Time of day — UV is greatest when the sun is highest in the sky (usually midday, between
10 a.m. and 3 p.m.).
„ Seasons — Although UV exposure is the greatest in the summer (May–August), it is important
to remember that UV rays reach the Earth throughout the year.
„ Altitude — With clearer and thinner air at high altitudes, UV exposure is greater in the mountains than in the valleys.
„ Time spent in the sun — Obviously, the longer you are out in the sun, the more UV you
receive. Don’t forget to account for time spent outside doing daily activities — such as walking
the dog — as time spent in the sun.
m
Visit the FHWA Web site to
read A Guide for Reducing
Collisions at Signalized
Intersections.
Highway specifications Web site
updated to be more user friendly
t
he National Highway Specifications Web site was recently updated to provide greatly increased
content and to make it more user friendly. The updated Web site can be accessed at
www.specs.fhwa.dot.gov.
Users can now search, review, cross reference
and download not only current standard specifications
but also innovative and emerging specifications and
construction manuals from various agencies.
The updated site contains the following three
main sections:
„ Specifications: Allows users to browse both
approved standard and innovative/emerging highway construction specifications by
keyword.
„ Construction manuals: Allows users to
browse the manuals by agency or search
them by keywords.
„ Standard drawings: Contains links to drawings on state DOT Web sites.
The NHSW is designed to allow authorized
state DOT personnel to upload, alter or delete their
agency’s specifications, construction manuals and
links to standard drawings as needed to maintain an
up-to-date library of the latest specifications available for their state.
Upload procedures have been greatly simplified in the update of the NHSW to make it very easy for
states to upload their most recent documents.
9
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
SAFETY
■ Paving safely
at night
Night paving always comes
with risks. But there are measures you can take to minimize risks:
† Hold frequent safety meetings –– nightly if needed
— to raise employee
awareness of work zone
safety. Complacency is
the enemy. A buddy system can work well.
Safe mower
operation
FHWA develops intersection
safety series
„
any proven and effective safety countermeasures have been developed specifically for intersections over the years, but implementation has been slow in
coming.
To facilitate implementation of the wide variety of safety improvements available for
both signalized and unsignalized intersections, as well as to market and promote knowledge and use of these countermeasures, the Federal Highway Administration has developed a series of easy-to-read one-page guide sheets.
Most of the information in the guide sheets is from two volumes of the NCHRP
Report 500: Volume 5 — A Guide for Addressing Unsignalized Intersection Collisions; and
Volume 12 — A Guide for Reducing Collisions at Signalized Intersections.
The FHWA Web site contains full sets of 77 sheets available to view or download.
Each sheet contains an image of the countermeasure, a description and information
(including keys to success), issues to consider, known effectiveness, implementation, time frames and
costs, and compatibility with other countermeasures.
A one-sheet brochure is also available with summaries of all 77 countermeasures, a visual key
indicating the typical implementation times, the safety concerns and estimated costs. The brochure
is available in printed form and on the FHWA Web site, with links to both HTML and PDF versions
of the full guide sheets. The Web and PDF versions of the materials are available at safety.fhwa.dot.
gov/intersections/intsafestratbro.
„
† Spacing
the work zone’s
cones or barricades even
more closely than specified can help prevent impatient drivers from jumping into your space behind
the cones. If the specification calls for 120-foot
intervals, you might want
to use 60-foot intervals.
† Use one or more Nevada
Highway Patrol cars or police cars — with their light
bars flashing — in critical
locations near your work
zone. Police cars can even
do “rolling road blocks” by
cruising through the zone
at a reduced speed.
† Use
plenty of light and
avoid shining lights toward traffic. Some project
officials don’t use light
towers and rely on extra
equipment lights. Experience shows that motorists’
eyes are easily diverted to
a light source, which can
cause accidents.
† Signage
and message
boards usually make flaggers unnecessary on highvolume highway projects.
If flaggers are necessary,
make sure they are well
lighted.
8
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
TRAINING
„
„
„
Before starting any mower, make sure it is
completely lubricated, adjusted and checked
for loose nuts and bolts. Check the chain
guard and other mower covers intended to
keep debris from being thrown.
Replace broken or missing debris guards
immediately; don’t operate a mower without
them. A small rock or pieces of cans and
bottles become dangerous projectiles when
launched by a mower. Cover all v-belts, drive
chains and power take-off shafts.
Shut off power before checking any mower
unit. Block the mower before changing or
sharpening a blade. Any blade being reinstalled should be checked for cracks or damage that will lead to failure.
Avoid mowing with a regular unit on slopes
that rise or fall away more than one foot in
2.5 feet of horizontal distance. Use a sidemounted mower or a boom and keep the tractor unit on the gently sloped surface.
Operate side-mounted or boom mower units
on the uphill side of the tractor, where pos-
„
„
„
„
sible, to further diminish the possibility of
overturning.
Raise mowers when crossing driveways and
roadways.
Face oncoming traffic as much as possible
when mowing around hazard markers, signs
and guardrails near the edge of the roadway
to watch for out-of-control vehicles.
Place a Slow Moving Vehicle sign (reflective
triangle) on the rear of tractors. Use rotating
yellow beacons on the tractors and install yellow flashers on the roll bar or top of the tractor
cab. Operate the flashers at all times. Install an
orange pennant on a whip to show the location
of the tractor over the edge of slopes. Use the
tractor’s headlights at all times.
Wear hearing protection and a safety vest.
Wear a hard hat and safety goggles to protect
yourself from branches and flying debris. Wear
leather gloves and boots that have hard toes
and soles.
Identifying skin cancers
o
ne third of all new cancers are skin cancer. About one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. The good news is that skin cancer prevention and early detection are easy and,
if caught early enough, most skin cancers are curable. Watch for these warning signs:
„ Actinic keratosis is a precancerous lesion that looks like a patch of dry skin that won’t go away.
It can measure anywhere from one-quarter inch to one inch in diameter, is slightly raised, and
can be tan, brown, gray or red.
„ Basal cell carcinoma is a tumor that appears either as a slow-growing, fleshy, translucent
bump on the head, neck or hands, or more rarely as a flat growth on the trunk of the body.
„ Squamous cell carcinoma is a red, scaly patch typically found on the ear, face, lips and mouth.
It may spread to other parts of the body or develop into large masses.
„ Malignant melanoma may appear without warning, or it may begin in or near a mole or dark
spot on the skin. It often begins as a light-brown to black, flat blemish with irregular borders.
One of the best ways to detect melanoma is to check your skin regularly for any changes,
especially in the size, height, shape, color, texture on sensation of a mole.
Sun causes skin cancer
Ultraviolet radiation, or UV rays, are the leading cause of skin cancer. The more intense the sun, the
greater your exposure to UV. The amount of UV you are exposed to depends on the following:
„ Time of day — UV is greatest when the sun is highest in the sky (usually midday, between
10 a.m. and 3 p.m.).
„ Seasons — Although UV exposure is the greatest in the summer (May–August), it is important
to remember that UV rays reach the Earth throughout the year.
„ Altitude — With clearer and thinner air at high altitudes, UV exposure is greater in the mountains than in the valleys.
„ Time spent in the sun — Obviously, the longer you are out in the sun, the more UV you
receive. Don’t forget to account for time spent outside doing daily activities — such as walking
the dog — as time spent in the sun.
m
Visit the FHWA Web site to
read A Guide for Reducing
Collisions at Signalized
Intersections.
Highway specifications Web site
updated to be more user friendly
t
he National Highway Specifications Web site was recently updated to provide greatly increased
content and to make it more user friendly. The updated Web site can be accessed at
www.specs.fhwa.dot.gov.
Users can now search, review, cross reference
and download not only current standard specifications
but also innovative and emerging specifications and
construction manuals from various agencies.
The updated site contains the following three
main sections:
„ Specifications: Allows users to browse both
approved standard and innovative/emerging highway construction specifications by
keyword.
„ Construction manuals: Allows users to
browse the manuals by agency or search
them by keywords.
„ Standard drawings: Contains links to drawings on state DOT Web sites.
The NHSW is designed to allow authorized
state DOT personnel to upload, alter or delete their
agency’s specifications, construction manuals and
links to standard drawings as needed to maintain an
up-to-date library of the latest specifications available for their state.
Upload procedures have been greatly simplified in the update of the NHSW to make it very easy for
states to upload their most recent documents.
9
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
FOCUS
IN NEVADA
■ Famous
Comstock
personage
The most famous of Virginia
City’s luminaries during the
Comstock period in the mid19th century was Samuel Clemens. It was as a reporter on
one of the city’s newspapers,
the Territorial Enterprise, that
he first plied his writing trade
and adopted the pen name
Mark Twain. Years later he
would recreate his colorful
Comstock adventures in his
book Roughing It.
Virginia City acted as a silver
magnet to many up-and-comers, such as Twain, who made
their fortuitous stake in the
Comstock, or soon after laid
claim to fame and fortune.
Among the latter was George
Hearst, who went on to establish his vast newspaper
empire. Another was John
MacKay, who would form the
company that laid the first
transatlantic telegraph cable.
Some of the most masterful
achievements in the Comstock were accomplished by
European immigrants. German Philip Deidesheimer invented the square-set method
of timbering that supported
crumbling rock and enabled
shafts to be dug to depths of
more than 3,000 feet.
Austrian Adolph Sutro, who
planned and built a 4-milelong tunnel from the Comstock to the Carson River
to drain scalding water from
the mines, used a significant
portion of his money made in
Nevada to help beautify San
Francisco.
The most notorious woman
in the Comstock was classy
courtesan Julia Bulette, who
relocated from New Orleans.
When she was murdered
in 1867, virtually the entire
male population of Virginia
City turned out for her funeral.
They turned out again to see
her alleged murderer hanged.
The town’s women were also
there, but for the expressed
purpose to mourn his death
with hymns and flowers.
Profile
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
Areas of concern
A celebration
for Virginia City
t
his summer Virginia City celebrates its 150th
birthday. The exact date of its inception is lost
The 19th century mining boom turned Virginia City
to history. But the town hosted its centennial
into the most important settlement between Denver
on June 12, 1959, when then Vice President Richand San Francisco.
ard Nixon joined in the festivities.
in today’s dollars would be worth $16 billion. Most
The Comstock silver strike gave birth to
of this wealth came from more than 750 miles of
Virginia City, which for a time was the most
tunnels underneath the streets of Virginia City.
important settlement between San Francisco
and Denver. The rich diggings turned the grubby
Economy
prospectors into instant millionaires who built manVirginia City’s economy is primarily dependent
sions, imported furniture and fashions from Europe
on tourism and county government. With about
and the Orient, and helped finance the Civil War.
950 residents, it is the seat for Storey County. To a
At its pinnacle in the 1860s, Virginia City
small extent, mining is still a factor in its economy.
was a boisterous town of 30,000
people operating 24 hours a day.
Climate
For celebrities of the day, the much
At an elevation of 6,200 feet,
anticipated stop was a highly lucraVirginia City’s winter temperatures
tive part of their Western tours.
range from night lows of 10 degrees
The Comstock metropolis
to daytime highs of 60 degrees. In
boasted daily newspapers, competthe summer, nighttime lows range
ing fire companies, fraternal orgafrom 40 degrees to day highs of 90
nizations, five police precincts and
degrees.
the first Miners Union in the United
States. Operating out in the open
Attractions
with other legal commerce were the
Virginia City is remarkably the
opium dens and a thriving red light
same as it was during its heyday
district. The six-story International
with wooden sidewalks, restored
Hotel featured the West’s first elevamansions, the 1877 Storey County
tor, called a “rising room.”
courthouse and jail, Territorial
A devastating fire in 1875 laid
Enterprise newspaper museum,
The 1877 Storey County
the town in near ruin, destroying
Court House in Virginia City
mine tours, “Old West” saloons and
2,000 buildings. But the resolute
still stands today.
Piper’s Opera House.
residents rebuilt the town in just a
The Virginia & Truckee
year. Most of the buildings you see
Railroad has been restored between
today date from that time.
Virginia City and Gold Hill and is open for train
The Comstock Lode generated a spectacular
rides. The train winds its way through much of the
amount of wealth — more than $700 million, which
Comstock Historic District, which encompasses the
mines and the town of Virginia City, Gold Hill and
Silver City.
10
Visitors can experience the Old West by walking
down C Street, which features board sidewalks in
front of restored 1870s buildings.
EROSION CONTROL
Events
Virginia City offers a smorgasbord of events
to attract tourists. These creations include the
Mountain Oyster Cook-Off in March followed by
another culinary favorite, the Comstock Chilli CookOff in May.
Independence Day is celebrated in patriotic
cowboy fashion with a parade and fireworks. The
International Camel Races are run in September,
followed the next month by the most unusual
extravagance –— the International Outhouse
Races.
continued from pg.6
curve will become lower. Curves very easily can go
out of proper shape.
The correct amount of slope or “banking” of
a curve can only be determined by engineering
analysis. There also is a device called a ball bank
indicator for determining the safe speed of a curve.
When you are unsure of correct shape on a curve,
get professional advice if at all possible.
Railroad crossings
Maintaining a road that intersects a rail
crossing is very similar to bridge approaches or
intersections with paved roads. Always begin to
eliminate the crown approximately 100 feet away
and shape the road to match the crossing.
Be extremely careful to keep gravel out of
the flangeways along the rails. This can cause a
derailment — particularly when it combines with
snow pack. Also be extremely careful not to strike
the rails. If you snag or strike a rail with your equipment, report it immediately to your supervisor and
the railroad.
Driveways
The public road always should retain its
normal crowned shape in front of driveways. Too
often the gravel builds up on the road at a driveway
entrance. This changes
the shape of the roadway,
which can cause loss of
control of vehicles. These
situations need to be
reshaped.
The driveway
entrance always should match the edge of the
public road.
Cattle guards
Cattle guards are a special maintenance
challenge when installed on gravel roads, The
approach to them should be treated much like
blading up to a bridge deck. Begin to eliminate normal crown 50 feet to 100 feet from the guard. The
road must then be shaped to match the
cattle guard.
However, gravel must never be spilled into
the cavity below the gate. If this is done repeatedly,
the hollow area below will be filled with gravel and
cattle simply will walk out.
Stop the grader 2 feet or 3 feet from the
guard and back-drag loose material away from
it. Then, hand work will often have to be done at
the edge of the cattle guard to maintain a smooth
crossing for traffic.
Railroad crossings are
one area of concern for
gravel road maintenance
because gravel must
be kept out of the
flangeways along the
rails.
Profile
Assistant planning director
balances needs in tough economy
t
racy Larkin-Thomason became NDOT’s
assistant director of planning in 2008. She
stepped into her new position after 21 years
with the department. She oversees research,
traffic information, intermodal transportation,
program development, roadway systems and operational analysis divisions.
“The greatest challenges I face on the job
are balancing NDOT’s needs and programs in
face of the rough economy and the effects of the
federal stimulus package,” Tracy acknowledges.
This balancing act pervades all her departmental responsibilities. These include the major
corridor studies, rail and multimodal plans, and
research and transit programs.
Tracy joined NDOT in 1987 as a engineer technician trainee before being promoted
through the engineering technician series. In
1994, she began her rise through the Bridge
Division to become a Staff III Engineer.
In 1997, Tracy transferred to NDOT District
II in Reno as its traffic engineer. She was
named assistant district engineer for maintenance in 2002, where for six years she oversaw
northwestern Nevada maintenance activities.
Tracy is a graduate of the University of
Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s of science
degree in civil engineering. She is a registered
professional engineer in the State of Nevada, a
certified traffic operations engineer and president of the Certified Public Managers Society of
Nevada.
Born in Massachusetts and raised in
upstate New York, Tracy lives with her husband, Jeff, and their 13-year-old son near
Stagecoach, east of Carson City. Her hobbies
are drawing and rock collecting.
Tracy asserts that she is a “big fan” of
the Nevada T2 Center. “As the assistant district
engineer in NDOT’s District II,” she says, “I used
the Center’s resources constantly for standard
and unique training.”
Tracy Larkin-Thomason
became NDOT’s assistant
director of planning in
2008.
7
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
FOCUS
EROSION CONTROL
■ Quotable
quotes
Workplace
witticisms
Work is the greatest thing
in the world, so we should
always save some of it for
tomorrow.
– Don Herold
Nothing is so embarrassing
as watching your boss do
something you assured him
couldn’t be done.
– Earl Wilson
I like work; it fascinates me.
I can sit and look at it for
hours.
– Jerome K. Jerome
The reason why worry kills
more people than work is
that more people worry than
work.
– Robert Frost
6
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
IN NEVADA
Areas of concern for gravel roads
t
here are special situations in gravel road maintenance that should be addressed. They are
common to nearly all gravel roads, and it is essential to understand how to deal with them. These
concerns are unique to gravel roads and practical
solutions are recommended for each of them.
Corrugation
The technical term is corrugation, but
virtually everyone in the field refers to the problem
as washboarding.
There are three primary causes: driving habits, lack of moisture and poor quality of
gravel. Driving habits are clearly evident when you
observe washboarding at intersections, going up
or down steep hills, leading into or out of sharp
curves and sometimes even near driveways. These
are all places where drivers tend to accelerate hard
or brake aggressively.
Lack of moisture will encourage washboard
formation. Nevada’s prolonged dry weather can
greatly aggravate the situation. The crust that forms
on the surface of a good gravel road will tend to
loosen. This allows the stone and sand-sized particles of gravel to “float,” and the material can easily
align itself into the washboard pattern under traffic.
The two causes just mentioned are completely out of the control of gravel maintenance
operators and managers. The third primary cause
— the quality of the gravel — is what we need to
concentrate on.
Good quality surface gravel must have the
right blend of stone, sand and fines. The stone
should be fractured, and the fine-sized particles
should have a binding characteristic, technically called “plasticity.” This type of gravel resists
washboarding.
Virtually any gravel will develop some washboard areas under traffic. The key for the maintenance operator is to strive to keep the material
blended. In dry conditions, the operator can only
smooth the road temporarily. When moisture is
present, it pays to quickly get out and rework
these areas.
The material should be cut to a depth of 1
inch or more below the depressions, mixed and
relayed to the proper shape. If time allows, using
the machine to apply wheel compaction to material
will help reform the crust. If possible, the use of a
roller will improve the compaction.
Gravel intersections
At controlled intersections, the primary road
should retain its crown, and the intersecting roads
should have their crowns gradually eliminated
beginning approximately 100 feet before the inter-
section. At the point of intersection, the side roads
are virtually flat to match the primary road.
When the intersection is uncontrolled, the
roads should all have the crown gradually eliminated approximately 100 feet from the intersection.
The intersection becomes virtually flat, allowing
vehicles to pass through without a noticeable hump
or dip from any direction. Be careful not to make
the intersection lower so that water collects there.
Intersections with paved roads
The rule for shaping these intersections is
always the same. Begin to eliminate the crown on
the gravel road approximately 100 feet from the
edge of the pavement. At the intersecting point,
the gravel should match the paved surface. This
requires continual attention because potholes
can easily develop at the edge of the pavement.
However, be careful not to push gravel out onto the
pavement because this causes a dangerous loss
of skid resistance on the pavement.
The technique of “backdragging” is useful in
these operations. When filling a pothole at the edge
of the pavement, extra material may spill onto it.
Simply pick up the moldboard and set it down in
front of the material, then back up and spread the
excess back on the gravel road.
Bridge approaches
Once again, the rule for shaping a bridge
approach is always the same. Approximately 100
feet from the bridge, begin to gradually take the
crown out of the gravel road so that you can match
the bridge deck as closely as possible.
Potholes can easily form at the edge of the
deck. Keep them filled but don’t push gravel onto
the deck.
Super elevation at curves
So-called “banking a curve” is one of the biggest challenges in gravel road maintenance. It also
is not very well understood by many operators. The
outer edge of the roadway is higher than the inside
edge, and the road surface is shaped straight from
the upper to the lower edge.
As the operator approaches a curve, adjustments should be made with the blade to take out
the normal crown and begin to transition into a
straight, super-elevated surface. This shape should
be maintained uniformly throughout the curve. A
gentle transition is then made at the other end
back to a normal crowned road surface when you
are once again on a straight section of road.
Traffic will tend to displace the gravel toward
the upper end of the road, and the inside of the
Continued on page 7
“Road Smart” contest
For each issue of the Nevada Milepost, field representative Larry
Lunz (“L2 on the Road”) submits a photograph from his trips across
the Silver State for the “Road Smart” contest.
How to play
To win a handsome prize that will make you the envy
of all your co-workers, you need to be the first to identify the stretch of road in the accompanying photograph. Specifically, you need to identify the road and two nearest destinations.
If you think you know the road and location, write it in where indicated on the No-Brainer Mail-In
Page. If you’re the first person to fax the T2 Center with the correct information, you win! It’s that easy.
Private sector prize winner
What’s your best guess
as to the location of
this road? Send in your
answer on the
“No Brainer” page.
First correct answer
by fax is the
Road Smart winner!
Civil engineer David Pulley with C&M Engineering and Design is the latest “Road Smart” contest winner.
He was the first to identify the photograph in the Spring 2009 issue of the Nevada Milepost as Old
Highway 40 between West Wendover and the Ola interchange. The Nevada T2 Center recognized David’s
road knowledge by presenting him with a kit containing a compass, pocket knife and flashlight.
L2 ON THE ROAD
Larry Lunz = L2
Life runs smooth
on an unpaved road
w
e live out in the country on a dirt and gravel road. I love it despite its
washboards, pot holes and dust. We and the five other families on
this private road just forked out money to have it graded. It’s a dead
end, so there’s not much traffic. I guess you could say it’s off the beaten path.
Among the reasons I’m attached to this road is because you can walk right down the middle of it
without getting run down. (Accompanying photo shows L2’s penchant for accustoming himself to the middle
of roads.) You and a neighbor can stop in your cars and talk out the windows without causing a traffic jam.
It just makes for a slower pace of life.
Recently deceased long-time radio commentator Paul Harvey said it best in his “Ode to Dirt Roads”:
„ Dirt roads build character. People who live at the end of a dirt road learn life is a bumpy ride, but
it’s worth it, if waiting at the other end is home, a loving spouse, happy kids and a frisky dog.
„ Our values were better when our roads were worse. People didn’t worship their cars more than
their kids. And motorists are more friendly and courteous on a dirt road. You don’t tailgate, or the
guy in front of you will choke you with dust and pelt you with rocks. Dirt roads teach patience.
„ If it rains and the dirt road gets washed out, you get to stay home and have some family time.
„ Most paved roads lead to trouble, but dirt roads are more likely to lead to a fishing creek or a
swimming hole. Criminals do not go two dusty miles to rob or rape if they know they’ll be welcomed by five barking dogs and a double-barrel shotgun.
„ Living at the end of a dirt road, the only time we lock our car is in August, because if we don’t
some neighbor will fill it with too much zucchini.
■ New signal
light warns
of ultraviolet
radiation
The new signal installed on
U.S. Highway 395 near Gardnerville’s maintenance facility
resembles a traffic light, but
it warns people of the sun’s
ultraviolet radiation.
Simply put, it measures how
much sun protection people
need when outdoors. The
stack of five lights range from
a low of green when it’s safe
to be outside without sun protection to an extreme of violet
when it is best to try to avoid
exposure to the sun.
The signal faces away from
oncoming traffic so motorists won’t confuse it with a
traffic light.
The local Knights of Columbus, who paid $2,195 for the
signal, hope to install a similar
mechanism in neighboring
Minden.
11
Us and the other families on our unpaved road watch out for each other and, like Mr. Harvey’s neighbors, share vegetables from our gardens. Whenever it snows some of us are always out with our tractors
clearing the road. It’s not work, it’s fun pulling together.
Life is good for us country folk on our little dirt road.
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
FOCUS
TRAINING
EROSION CONTROL
Section 2:
Rehabilitation of gravel roads
12
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
Rick Coral has been with the City of Reno for 10
years and is a maintenance worker I. He does
street, sign and right-of-way
maintenance and guardrail
installation and repair.
“My greatest challenge
on the job is learning new
technologies,” he says.
Rick contends that the
T2 Center’s classes are “very
good.” He says, “I came
away from them with a lot
Rick Coral
of valuable information for
everyday use.”
Bill Griffey has been
with NDOT in Reno for four years and is a highway
maintenance worker III. His duties involve operating equipment, paving and snow removal.
“My job goal is to learn
how to operate more equipment,” he says. “My greatest challenges on the job
are public safety and crew
safety while operating snow
removal equipment.”
Bill asserts that his
favorite T2 Center class
was Snow & Ice Control.
“Finishing the Roads Scholar
Program was a real achieve- Bill Griffey
ment,” he says proudly.
Just like Griffey, Joshua Jay has been with
NDOT in Reno for four years and is a maintenance
worker III. But his responsibilities are different. He
works on the sign and lighting crew doing new
installation and maintenance.
“My job goals are
to learn as much as I can
and to teach others what
I’ve learned,” he says. “The
greatest challenge I face is
constantly working on new
technical projects.”
Joshua advises,
“Anyone who works in road
construction and mainteJoshua Jay
nance should take the T2
Center’s classes because
you can learn a lot of useful information.”
Danny Jordan has been a highway maintenance worker II with NDOT in Las Vegas for three
years. His maintenance duties include operating a
loader, guardrail repair and highway clean up. He
also helps with traffic control during accidents in
work zones.
“I want to learn more
on the job and through
the T2 Center programs to
become a better employee,”
he says. “The greatest challenge is helping to keep
NDOT crews and the public
safe in work zones.”
Employed by NDOT
Danny Jordan
in Las Vegas for 10 years,
Kevin Killian is a highway
maintenance supervisor I.
He is responsible for running a night maintenance
crew. “Trying to deal with vendors and other support people who work during the day is probably
the hardest thing I have to
do. I must rely on others to
communicate my needs to
these people.”
“My primary goal is to
maintain a trained crew who
are capable of accomplishing any task that they are
asked to do,” he states. “The
T2 Center provides my crew
and me the chance to learn Kevin Killian
new skills and refresh those
skills that are not used
every day.”
NDOT 20-year veteran
Mike Palzet is a highway
maintenance supervisor I
in Las Vegas. He is snow
removal certified and in
charge of a six-man crew
who do storm water maintenance and concrete repair
on drains and culverts.
His goal is to work 30
years
at NDOT and retire.
Mike Palzet
“The greatest challenges
for me on the job are heavy
traffic and the intense Las Vegas summer heat,”
he says.
Mike identifies his
three favorite T2 Center
classes as Winter Survival,
Summer Survival and Work
Zone Traffic Control.
John Picetti works
for NDOT in Fernley as a
highway maintenance worker
II. With the department for
10 years, he is an equipment
John Picetti
operator on all major pieces
g
ravel roads gradually begin to show distress that requires more than routine maintenance to correct. At certain intervals, every gravel road requires some major rehabilitation. Reshaping of the
driving surface and road shoulder can be done by cutting material with the motor grader and relaying it to the proper shape and crown. If possible, the use of a roller for compaction will greatly improve the
finished surface. This will leave a denser, stronger, smoother surface that will be easier to maintain.
Severe rutting, loss of crown, gravel loss and deep secondary ditches –– a combination of any two
or more of these calls for a major reshaping. This often has to be done on the entire cross section, and it
may have to be done immediately regardless of vegetative growth. Motor graders, disks, pulverizers and
rollers are often needed. These are not always available but certainly make the job easier.
The field supervisor’s knowledge and the operator’s skill in understanding how to rebuild the cross
section becomes very important. These projects seldom have the benefit of much planning or technical
assistance. Seldom is any surveying or staking done. But it is vital to rebuild a uniform cross section and
pay attention to restoring good drainage. Only after this is done correctly should good surface gravel be
replaced.
■ Prevent postvacation
blues
Even if your vacation has
relaxed and recharged you,
getting back to work can soon
make you feel listless and
unmotivated. Here are tips
to alleviate the symptoms of
post-vacation letdown.
„
Pace yourself. We tend to
have high expectations
of what we can get out of
our vacations. So we tend
to overplan or overbook
ourselves for time meant
to relax. Make sure you’re
not trying to do so much
that you never relax and
regret it when you return
home.
„
Schedule your return a
couple of days early. Give
yourself a day or so between vacation and going
back to work; it can help
ease the transition to your
duties.
„
Let others know your
plans. It is always good
workplace practice to let
people know you’re away
and to provide them with
alternative contacts. Arrange for messages on
your voice mail and e-mail.
It can reduce the number
of messages waiting to be
returned.
„
Ease into it. If you can
arrange it, make your first
day back a half day. You
can take care of the most
pressing matters with this
time.
ON THE JOB
Ergonomic workstations require
proper design for employees
e
rgonomics is the science concerned with
designing and arranging workstations that
are safe and efficient.
Employees who work at a computer are
at high risk of developing injury due to repetitive
movement. An ergonomic workstation greatly
reduces the risk of office injury, encourages good
posture and provides the least amount of stress on
the body.
A properly designed and arranged workplace
is worth the time and effort to create. Employees
will experience less discomfort, be more productive
and better enjoy their work.
Office chair
Buy a chair with an adjustable seat height,
adjustable back angle with lumbar support and with
armrests. All three are important to reduce strain
and injury while lumbar support for the lower back
will decrease back
fatigue. To adjust
the chair, first set
the seat height so
your knees are at
an angle between
90 degrees and 110
degrees, with your
feet resting flat on
the floor or a footrest
and your thighs
parallel to the floor. Second, set the back angle so
your hips are at a 90-degree angle. Third, adjust
armrests low enough not to interfere with mouse
use.
Computer monitor
Place the monitor directly in front of the keyboard at a height so your eyes land on the top onethird of the screen while looking straight ahead.
This will reduce the risk of neck and shoulder pain.
Also, place the monitor at a comfortable distance
to reduce eye strain.
Keyboard and mouse
Some of the most common computer-related
injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, come from
improper placement of the keyboard and mouse.
First, buy an adjustable tray for the keyboard
and mouse. Second, adjust the tray at a proper
height so your elbows are at a 90-degree angle
while your wrists remain straight and relaxed.
Third, place the mouse at the same height as the
keyboard and within easy reach. Elbows should be
at your side and close to the body while working.
Breaks
Take frequent breaks throughout the day to
stretch and refocus. Stretch your back, neck, wrists
and forearms to reduce stress and allow work to be
more comfortable for longer periods of time.
5
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
FOCUS
EROSION CONTROL
The essentials
of road shoulders
t
Road shoulders are
generally kept clear of
all traffic so that in an
emergency, the driver can
pull into it to get out of the
flow of traffic.
he road shoulder serves several essential functions. It is
there to support the edge of the traveled portion of the
roadway. But another important function is to provide a
safety area for drivers to regain control of vehicles if forced
to leave the road surface. Yet another vital function is to carry
water further away from the road surface to the foreslope and
ditch.
For the shoulder to perform all of these functions, its
shape is critical. First, the shoulder should meet the edge of
the roadway at the same elevation. In other words, the shoulder should be no higher or no lower than the edge of the roadway. By maintaining this shape, the low
shoulder or drop-off is eliminated (a safety hazard which also reduces roadway edge support).
High shoulders
When a gravel road develops a high shoulder or what engineers call a secondary ditch, it destroys
the drainage of water directly from the surface to the real ditch.
This process causes several problems. In relatively level terrain, the water collects and seeps into
the subgrade, often causing the whole roadway to soften. In rolling and rugged terrain, the water quickly
flows downhill along the secondary ditch, often eroding away a large amount of gravel and even eroding
the subgrade. This also creates a serious safety hazard.
Causes of high shoulders
High shoulders can develop from improper maintenance, such as losing material from the toe of
a grader’s moldboard or from cutting too deep at the shoulder line with the toe of the machine. This is a
particular problem when the cutting edge is not kept reasonably straight.
But there are other causes. Fast traffic can cause excessive “whip-off” of loose material, which
tends to build up along the shoulder line. Heavy loads on gravel roads with weak subgrades also can
cause this. When heavy vehicles have to travel near the shoulder while meeting other vehicles, the roadway can rut while the shoulder area shoves upward.
■ Summer
Sizzle
Laughlin is second only to
Laredo, Texas, for the most
record high temperatures in
the United States. The highest recorded temperature in
Laughlin was 125° F, which
was reached June 29, 1994.
The temperature also stands
as the record high temperature for Nevada.
4
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
Recovering and spreading on roadway
When a motor grader is the only piece of equipment used on the job, usually more than one pass
will be required to recover material from high shoulders.
If there is little or no vegetation on the shoulder, simply extend the moldboard out into the shoulder
material and begin to pull it onto the roadway. If the amount of material is light, you may be able to do
this in one pass. The material recovered is often good gravel that needs to be returned to the roadway
surface.
Breaking up sod and vegetation
Quite often the material pulled
out onto the roadway from the shoulder is very hard to spread because
of the vegetative material in it. It
will require multiple passes with the
grader to get the job done.
Many agencies are turning to
other mechanical means of breaking
up the material to make the road safe
for traffic. This can range from something as simple as a disk or drag to
sophisticated pulverizing equipment.
TRAINING
More Roads Scholars
of equipment.
He says one of his job goals is helping to
educate his crew. “The greatest challenges I face
are working with the pubic and dealing with the
traffic on Interstate 80.”
John says he has enjoyed the T2 Center
classes and has found them to be “very interesting.”
Equipment operations instructor Glen
Rogers has worked for
NDOT in Las Vegas for
three years. He is responsible for teaching vehicle
operators safe and efficient
use of construction equipment. He is well qualified
for his job, having spent 20
years in the Navy on heavy
Glen Rogers
equipment operation.
“I want to ensure that
my students comprehend and master the new
skills I teach them,” he confesses. As for himself,
Glenn says that the Roads Scholar Program was
“essential” for him to learn and advance.
Employed with NDOT
in Las Vegas for 20 years,
Kenny Smith is a highway
maintenance worker III, who
among his duties, operates
heavy equipment.
“I want to become
a better employee and
advance to a higher position,” he says. “I plan to use
information that I learned
Kenny Smith
from the T2 Center classes to
achieve these goals.”
He sees his greatest challenge as keeping
NDOT employees and the public safe in work zones.
Troy Teixeira has worked for the City of
Reno for three years and is a maintenance worker
I. His main duty is asphalt
maintenance on city streets.
“My greatest challenge
on my job is working with the
public and dealing with heavy
traffic,” he admits.
“I liked all the workshops I took from the T2
Center and found them very
informational,” he says. “My
favorite class though was
Troy Teixeira
Winter Survival.”
NDOT 19-year veteran
Tommy Thompson is a highway maintenance
supervisor II in Las Vegas. He is responsible for
overseeing and coordinating maintenance tasks
for assigned sections involving up to four highway
maintenance supervisors under him.
“My main goals are to insure that the crews
who fall under my supervision are accident and
injury free,” he says. “I
also want to become the
most efficient and supportive supervisor that I can
be. This involves dealing
well with people and their
unique personalities.”
Tommy says that
the T2 Center Program is
a “great learning tool” for
Tommy Thompson
NDOT employees.
For more information about
the Road Scholar
program, please visit our
Web site at www.t2.unr.edu.
A complete list of the 2009
workshops is posted to the
site or you can call Lisa Cody
at (775) 784-1433.
13
Road shoulders provide a safety area for drivers to retain control
of their vehicles.
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
FOCUS
EROSION CONTROL
RECYCLE MICHAEL
■ Mercury mess
When a compact fluorescent light bulb breaks in your
house, evacuate people and
pets from the room. Open a
window for at least 15 minutes
so no one breathes in the fine
mercury dust released from
the CFL bulb.
If the floor of the room is a hard
surface, you can scoop up the
debris with a piece of cardboard. The smallest particles
can be wiped up with a damp
paper towel. The EPA warns
that sweeping and vacuuming
is not thorough enough for
cleanup on hard floors.
When you’re finished, seal
the cardboard, paper towel
and broken pieces of the CLF
bulb into two layers of plastic
bagging.
On carpeting and other soft
surfaces, put on gloves and
pick up as many pieces as
you can of the broken light
bulb by hand or with the help
of sticky tape and dispose
of the material in a double
plastic bag.
If you need to vacuum to
remove the mercury dust
and other debris, remove
the vacuum bag and dispose
of it properly. Wipe out the
canister if the vacuum does
not have a bag.
Recycle Michael is as tight-fisted as his ol’ buddy the Practical Man is tight-lipped. He has the first dollar he ever
earned and expects the government to be frugal as well. He’s always on the lookout for ways to reuse things to
save a little money while helping to preserve the environment.
Shining the light on CFLs
u
tilities, environmentalists, retailers and government agencies encourage you to
swap out your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights to cut
electric use. But there’s a hitch.
Recycling efforts are unable to keep up with spent and broken CFLs. Only a small fraction of the nearly 500 million CFLs sold in the United States last year were recycled.
Mercury menace
This raises a potential health hazard with hundreds of millions of the bulbs being tossed in the trash
and ending up in landfills. Most CFLs contain about 4 to 5 milligrams of mercury, enough to cover the tip
of a ballpoint pen. This trace amount multiplied nearly exponentially can cause neurological disorders as
well as lung and kidney diseases in humans.
The mercury in the CFLs makes the collection process for recycling difficult. The EPA opposes
typical curbside recycling of the bulbs because of the danger of breakage. But no agencies oversee the
EPA’s recommended guidelines to double plastic bag CFLs before disposing of them. Furthermore, there
are no penalties for throwing CFLs into the trash in Nevada.
Limited option
Recycling always should be your first option. But if you happen to live in the far reaches of Nevada
where recycling centers aren’t available, follow the EPA recommendation to seal the bulbs in two layers of
plastic bagging.
To find out if recycling is an option in your area, contact Nevada Power or go online to earth911.org
to find the recycling center nearest to you. Enter “CFL” and your zip code.
Other ways also are available to identify local recycling options. These include the U.S. Recycling
Hotline at (800) 253-2687 and the EPA at epa.gov/bulb. In addition, some retail stores like Ace Hardware
and Home Depot now accept spent CFLs.
THE PRACTICAL MAN
The Practical Man tolerates no nonsense and minces few words. He doesn’t stand on formality and isn’t easily amused. He
grudgingly appears here to offer you hard-bitten practical advice to make your job easier.
Establishing proper crown
on gravel roads
e
stablishing proper crown in the gravel surface probably generates more controversy than any
other aspect of good maintenance. How much crown is enough? Can you build too much crown?
What is a recommended crown?
Problems develop quickly when a gravel road has no crown. Water will quickly collect on the road
surface during a rain and will soften the crust. This will lead to rutting which can become severe if the
subgrade also begins to soften. Even if the subgrade remains firm, traffic will quickly pound out smaller
depressions in the road where water collects and potholes will develop.
An operator also can build too much crown into the road surface. This can lead to an unsafe condition in which motorists do not feel comfortable staying on their side of the road. They begin to feel a slight
loss of control of the vehicle as it wants to slide toward the shoulder. As a result, motorists tend to drive
down the middle of the road regardless of how wide it is.
Recommendations from supervisors and skilled operators across the country indicate that at least
½ inch of crown per foot (approximately 4 percent) on the cross slope is ideal. It is also recognized that it
is impossible for any operator to maintain an absolutely uniform crown.
Crown gauges can be used to determine existing crown. Sophisticated electronic slope controls
also are available for graders.
Mitigating parabolic crown
The ideal shape for a crown is a straight line
from the shoulder up to the centerline of the road.
This gives the road the same shape as the roof of
a house, often referred to as a flat “A” shape.
However, this shape
sometimes can become
This is the ideal shape
rounded. The engineering
of a crown.
term for this is “parabolic
crown.” The middle portion of the road will have considerably less crown
than the outer edges. Water will not drain from the
middle, and potholes and ruts will form.
The greatest cause of parabolic crown is
excess water at the center of the cutting edge. This
is normal wear and will vary with types of gravel,
s
14
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
The tighter surface created by the steel
drum improves surface drainage by reducing infiltration into the gravel. Using the ripper hydraulics
to increase pressure on the drum applies considerable weight and develops a tight top surface.
Development of the pull-behind steel-drum
roller took 40 labor hours. Materials included the
steel drum, axle, 800-pound bearings, mounts,
frame and a scrapper bar for a total cost of
$3,000.
The Bighorn County boys told me that now
they can now provide a better ride with only a
slight increase in the time it takes to maintain the
road.
■ THE NEVADA
T2 CENTER
ADVISORY
BOARD
Delmo Andreozzi
City of Elko
Allen Bell
City of Mesquite
Kevin Carnes
USDA Forest Service
Ken Chambers
NDOT
Tie He
Nevada DOT, Carson City
Kevin Lee
Nevada DOT, Elko
Shital K. Patel
FAST, RTC Southern Nevada
Patrick Pittenger
Carson City Public Works
Tighter surface created by using
steel drum on gravel roads
ome of my buddies at the Bighorn County
Road & Bridge Department in Wyoming
have come up with a very effective device
that they’ve dubbed a pull-behind steel-drum roller.
The incentive was their desire to provide a
tighter surface after performing routine maintenance with a motor grader on some of their gravel
roads. After normal maintenance, the surface was
loose and formed ruts and washboards.
Their solution was to attach a steel drum
to the back of a motor grader. This let them apply
sufficient compaction for a tighter top surface,
reducing washboards, loose aggregate and rutting
on the top surface.
width of road, wheel path location and other factors. A good operator will make an effort to avoid
the parabolic shape on a roadway by keeping the
cutting edge straight.
A simple method to avoid the parabolic
shape is to use a cutting torch and straighten the
cutting edge whenever ½ inch to ¾ inch or more
of center wear exists. Another approach is to use a
thicker, harder section of cutting edge in the middle
of the moldboard to resist wear. This will retard
excess center wear but usually will not eliminate it.
Another option is to use the modern carbide-tipped bits on the cutting edge. These are
extremely wear resistant and dramatically reduce
center wear. There also are carbide inserts or carbide-faced cutting edges that are wear resistant.
Jim Poston
Washoe County RTC
Valerie Rodman
FHWA
Gone fishin’
HUMOR
A young boy was taking care of his baby sister while his parents went shopping
in town. He wanted to go fishing and decided to take his little sister with him.
When he got home, he complained to his mother. “I’m never taking Jill
with me again. She wouldn’t behave, and I didn’t catch a thing.”
“Jack,” his mother said, “don’t be that way about your little sister. I’m sure
she’ll be quieter the next time and won’t scare the fish away.”
Bob Russell
Washoe County RTC
Roger Sutton
City of Winnemucca
Kathy Sanchez
City of Reno
Paul Solaegui
President, Solaegui Engineers
Barbara Stearns
NDOT, Training Division
3
“It wasn’t that,” Jack said. “She ate all the bait!”
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
FOCUS
No-Brainer Mail-In Page
EROSION CONTROL
Your Name: ___________________________________________________________________
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Focus
Routine maintenance .....................1
Shaping principles..........................2
Crown.............................................3
Road shoulder................................4
Gravel road shaping principles
t
he motor grader is most often used for gravel road maintenance. However, other devices also can
work well. Front or rear-mounted grading attachments for tractors, road rakes and other devices
of various designs are sometimes used. The principles of shaping are the same no matter what
machine is used.
Phone: __________________________________Fax: _________________________________
Company/Organization: __________________________________________________________
Address: ______________________________________________________________________
Rehabilitation .................................5
Areas of concern .........................6-7
Humor
Gone fishin’ ....................................3
On the Job
Ergonomic workstation requires
proper design .............................5
Prevent post-vacation blues ...........5
Quotable Quotes
Workplace witticisms......................6
Safety
Paving safely at night .....................8
Safe mower operation ....................8
Identifying skin cancers..................8
Sun causes skin cancer .................8
Training
Intersection safety series
developed ...................................9
Highway specifications Web
site updated ................................9
More Roads Scholars make
the honor roll .......................12-13
In Nevada
Summer sizzle ...............................4
New assistant planning director
balances needs in tough
economy .....................................7
Virginia City throws
sesquicentennial celebration ...10
New signal light warns of
ultraviolet radiation ...................11
Rear View Mirror
Seat belt crusader wouldn’t
buckle under .............................16
Regular Features
“Road Smart” Contest ..................11
L2 on the Road .............................11
Recycle Michael ...........................14
The Practical Man ........................14
No-Brainer Mail-in Page ...............15
Operating speed
Operating speed in blading operations must
not be excessive. It is virtually impossible to do
good work above a top speed of 3 mph to 5 mph.
If the machine begins to “lope” or bounce, it will cut
depressions and leave ridges in the road surface.
Moldboard angle
The angle of the moldboard also is critical
to good maintenance. This angle is fixed on some
grading devices, but on motor graders it can be
adjusted easily. It is important to keep the angle
somewhere between 30 degrees and 45 degrees.
It is a challenge to recover loose aggregate
from the shoulder of the roadway without spilling material around the leading edge (toe) of the
moldboard. Operating without enough angle is a
primary cause of this spilling.
Moldboard pitch
Along with correct angle, it is important to
understand proper pitch or “tilt” of a moldboard. If
it is pitched back too far, the material will tend to
build up in front of it and will not fall forward and
move along to the discharge end of the blade.
This also causes excess material loss from
the toe of the machine. In addition, it reduces
the mixing action that is desirable when recovering material from the shoulder and moving it
across the roadway, leveling and smoothing it in
the process. This mixing action is part of routine
maintenance.
Traffic tends to loosen material from the road
surface and displace it to the shoulder as well as
between the wheel tracks. The stone will tend to
separate from the sand
and the fine-sized material. Concurrently, small
potholes and an uneven
surface will develop. It is
the job of the maintenance
operator to recover the
material, mix it again as it
rolls along the face of the
moldboard and to restore
good surface shape.
2
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
Motor grader stability
Sometimes it can be
hard to keep a machine
stable, especially while
carrying a light load of material. Counteracting
machine bounce or loping requires experience in
knowing the cause and then finding a solution. If a
motor grader begins to rock from side to side, it is
usually caused by blade angle that closely matches
the angle from corner to corner of the tires on the
rear tandems.
Generally, the solution is to stop, change
angle slightly on the moldboard and slowing
resume blading. Simply reducing speed will often
eliminate the loping effect of a machine.
Experimenting with different tire inflation
pressures can help stabilize a machine, as can
leaning the front wheels in the direction that material is being moved. Filling tires with liquid ballast
to about 70 percent capacity sometimes is done to
increase traction, weight and stability of the grader.
Articulation
Virtually all modern motor graders are
equipped with frame articulation. It can be an
advantage to slightly articulate the machine to stabilize it even in a common maintenance operation.
Windrows
In arid Western states like Nevada, it is
common to leave a small inventory windrow to be
picked up next time and worked back across the
road for filling small depressions. The windrow
should be placed near the edge of the roadway to
allow as great a width of travel as possible.
City: _________________________________________State: _________ZIP: _____________
If you have changed your address, telephone or fax number, please write them below and fax changes to (775) 784-1429
or e-mail to [email protected]
_____________________________________________________________________________
Circle
YES where appropriate
Do you want a free copy of Minimizing Low Volume Road Water Displacement on Gravel Roads? YES
Do you want to borrow Gravel Road Maintenance: Meeting the Challenge DVD/CD combo? YES
A complete list of the 2009 workshops is posted to our Web site at www.t2.unr.edu or call Lisa Cody at 775-784-1433.
The T2 Center would like to be able to communicate with you by e-mail. Do you have an e-mail address? If so,
please enter it here. _________________________________________________________________________
Please provide your answer to the “Road Smart Contest.” Identify the road and two nearest destinations.
_________________________________________________________________________________________
FAX this form to (775) 784-1429. Or fold it in three, close with tape and mail.
______________________________________
Motor graders are often used for gravel road
maintenance although other devices can work
well too.
PLACE
STAMP
HERE
______________________________________
______________________________________
University of Nevada, Reno
T2 Center/257
Reno, NV 89557-0179
Nevada T2 Center
University of Nevada, Reno/0257
Reno, NV 89557-0257
Nevada Milepost
is published quarterly by the
Transportation Technology
Transfer Center at the University of Nevada, Reno. Its
purpose is to provide the latest information on transportation in a way that is useful
to local and county highway
personnel.
Nevada Milepost contains
original and rewritten material
compiled from reliable sources. It assumes no responsibility for the correctness of the
information.
The Nevada T2 Center is
part of the nationwide Local
Technical Assistance Program. It is financed jointly by
the Nevada Department of
Transportation, the Federal
Highway Administration and
the Washoe County Regional
Transportation Commission.
NONPROFIT
ORGANIZATION
U.S. Postage
PAID
Reno, NV
Permit No. 26
ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
Summer 2009
Maria Ardila-Coulson
Peter Sebaaly
Lisa Cody
Larry Lunz
Elie Hajj
Nevada Milepost:
Editor: Maria Ardila-Coulson
Photojournalist: Larry Lunz
Graphic Design: KCJ Creative
16
Nevada Milepost • Summer 2009
Vol. 21 No. 2
FOCUS
EROSION CONTROL
Nevada Milepost
Nevada T2 Center/257
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557
Ph: (775) 784-1433
FAX: (775) 784-1429
http://www.t2.unr.edu
T2 Center Staff
Nevada’s Technology Transfer Quarterly
How to keep gravel roads
in good shape
t
Seat belt crusader wouldn’t
buckle under
a
n Alabama congressmen who became
known as “Seat Belt” Roberts is not well
remembered today. But Kenneth Roberts
was the firebrand behind the first federal law requiring safety devices in all new American cars.
The popular myth in the mid-1950s was that
seat belts cause more injuries than they prevented.
Despite strong public and automaker opposition,
Roberts finally got legislation enacted in 1964 that
gave the General Services Administration oversight
of safety standards for federally
purchased cars.
The GSA mandated 17 safety
features, including padded instrument panels, safety door latches
and a uniform sequence for automatic transmissions (P-R-N-D-L). It
also required anchors where seat
belts could be installed, but not the
belts themselves.
Lobbyists for the automakers
immediately began watering down
the GSA’s regulations. Roberts’ law might have had
little impact if not for the events of 1965.
Grassroots groups joined the cause with
the publication of Ralph Nader’s landmark book,
Unsafe at Any Speed. Thirty medical doctors got
into the act by picketing the International Auto
Show in New York, demanding safer designs.
The growing uproar spurred a Senate subcommittee to hold public hearings on automobile
safety and to invite automakers to testify. When
pressed, GM officials admitted that their company
spent less than 0.1 percent of its profits on safety.
Feeling the political heat, President Lyndon
Johnson put his weight behind
an auto safety bill.
Successful legislation
led to the establishment of
the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration. It
applied the GSA’s standards
to all automobiles and further
required those built after 1967
to have seat belts.
Roberts lost his re-election bid but stayed
active by serving as a highway safety advisor.
here are more than 1.6 million miles of unpaved
roads (53 percent of all roads) in the United
States. The focus of this issue is to provide clear
and helpful information for doing a better job of maintaining and rehabilitating gravel roads. Very little technical help is available to small agencies responsible
for managing these roads.
Traditionally, gravel maintenance and rehabilitation has been more of an art than a science, and very
few formal standards exist. This leads to many arguments among grader operators, managers and motor- Maintaining and rehabiliting gravel roads has
been more of an art than a science.
ists over questions such as: What is enough surface
crown? What is too much? What causes corrugation?
The objective is to offer guidelines to help answer these and other questions about the maintenance and rehabilitation of gravel roads.
Section 1:
Routine maintenance
Understanding road cross sections
To maintain a gravel road properly, operators must clearly understand the need for the three basics:
a crowned driving surface, a shoulder that slopes directly away from the edge of the driving surface, and
a ditch. The shoulder and the ditch of many gravel roads may be minimal.
The basic shape of the cross section must be correct or a gravel road will not perform well, even
under very low traffic. The operator’s responsibility
is to maintain the shape of the road surface and the
shoulder. This is classified as routine maintenance.
Keeping the foreslope and ditch established
and shaped is often the maintenance operator’s
responsibility as well. Sometimes there is a need
for specialized equipment to do major reshaping of
the cross section, especially in very wet conditions.
However, the operator of routine maintenance equipment must do everything possible to take care of the
roadway; budgets often do not allow for the use of
extra equipment and manpower on gravel roads.
■
IN THIS ISSUE
■ How to do a better job
of maintaining and rehabilitating gravel roads
(p.1-7)
■ The Comstock Silver
Strike gave birth to Virginia City 150 years ago,
and the big birthday bash
is being celebrated this
summer (p. 10)
■ L2 on the Road shares
not only the late radio
commentator Paul
Harvey’s “Ode to Dirt
Roads” but also snippets
of his own idyllic life on
an unpaved road (p.11)
■ The Practical Man has
come across a device
that provides a tighter
surface on gravel roads
(p. 14)
■ Recycle Michael warns
“not so fast” in trading out
your old incandescent
light bulbs with compact
fluorescent lights. (p. 14)
■
ROUTING SLIP
Don’t file this Quarterly in
your inbox. Please — read
it, photocopy what you want,
initial below, and send it on,
especially to the frontline
troops.
_____________________
_____________________
_____________________
_____________________
_____________________