Westwood Ranches Road Maintenance Co-op

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Slowing down is one way to avoid the speed bump-like effect of washboard roads.

What Causes Washboard Roads?

While washboard roads can occur anywhere, they are most often seen in hot, dry areas and on sandy, dirt or gravel roads. What causes wash-boarding to be worse in some locations than others? There are three main causes:

Lack of moisture -- Washboard roads are particularly prevalent when weather conditions are dry. Frequent rainfall reduces the chances of wash-boarding.

Traffic -- Hard acceleration or braking can accelerate wash-boarding, and that helps explain why you'll see it frequently at intersections, before and after sharp curves, business entrances, and even driveways. If a car's tires lose a firm grip on the road and begin to spin or skid, some gravel will be displaced. If this happens repeatedly, the gravel will be displaced, often uniformly, and a washboard pattern will form.

Poor quality surface -- Wash-boarding occurs most frequently if the surface quality of the road is poor, whether it's sand, gravel or even pavement. When a heavy load passes over the surface repeatedly, it develops irregularities like washboard patterns. Potholes are a common result of poor quality surfaces, too.

 If you travel dirt roads frequently, you know that you can find an ideal speed that will help smooth out the ride. That's the speed at which your car's suspension system is pushing the car down at the same time you experience a dip in the road. The problem is that the more the tires press down, the worse the washboard depression becomes. It's a catch-22: your suspension system is giving you a smooth ride, but it's making the washboard problem worse.


Ranch Road Maintenance

The Coconino County website explains in the  ‘Code of the West - Access to your Property’, “The fact that you can drive to your property does not guarantee that you, your guests, or emergency vehicles will have the same level of access at all times”.

            Access To Your Property                              A Portrait of Landscape & Lifestyle

 http://coconino.az.gov/index.aspx?NID=728        http://coconino.az.gov/index.aspx?NID=659

“The Camp Road Maintenance Manual estimates that $1 spent in routine maintenance will save $15 in capital repairs.”  

Also, “Yankee thrift advises an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  In the long run, developing and implementing a preventative road maintenance program really is less expensive than paying to fix a road once it has developed significant problems - and this process can be undertaken with much less effort when fellow road users join together”.  And finally, “It will also help to protect property values and marketability”. http://www.yorkswcd.org/Lakes/RoadAssnGuide.pdf

Hollis Walker’s 2006 article, ‘Road Maintenance on Your Dirt Road’ says that “Most of the time, living on a country road feels like heaven, as John Denver sang.  But when your darling dirt road turns to mud soup after a rain or your ditches overflow into your fields, living on a country road can feel more like being stuck in purgatory”.  https://www.grit.com/tools/road-maintenance-on-your-dirt-road-zmaz06sozgoe