The main consideration in our Gravel Road Maintenance Program is to provide maintenance activities at the designated ‘Frequency of Service.’ Frequency of Service is a goal, not a mandate. Staff availability, equipment availability, weather conditions, materials availability, and other considerations all play a role in determining if Frequency of Service goals are attainable.
1,000+ Miles of Gravel Roads
El Paso County has more than 2,000 centerline miles of roads, half of which are gravel roads.
The gravel roads are divided into 23 distinct maintenance areas which are comprised of between 20 to 90 centerline miles of road.
Most gravel roads are maintained on a six to eight week schedule. Section line roads and higher traffic roads receive more attention.
El Paso County Department of Public Works has staff assigned to the maintenance areas to conduct resurfacing, ditching, and profiling of gravel roads.
During the spring, summer, and fall, the Department of Public Works is busy with traditional upkeep and repairs on the gravel roads including grading, dust abatement, and graveling.
Most gravel roads have an established center crown with 28 feet of total width, 24 foot road width, and 2 foot shoulders.
15 Centerline Miles
El Paso County road crews will regravel anywhere from 7 to 15 centerline miles of gravel roads each year. New gravel is trucked in from one of several gravel pits in the region.
County Engineering and Highway staff inspect the road conditions and develop a list of discrepancies or deficiencies to bring the road within county standards.
Crews prepare subgrade, clean and reshape ditches and cross/driveway culverts as needed, and will add or replace damaged culverts as required.
17,000 Miles Traveled
35,000 Hours of Work
Most gravel roads are graded on a six to eight week schedule. Moving around four mph, the graders go back and forth multiple times to smooth out the surface of 1,000 miles of roads, tallying up more than 17,000 miles traveled and 35,000 hours of work in a year. The goal when working gravel roads is to re-establish a “crown” or cross slope to the roadway, address drainage issues with the ditches, and to regrade the surface to remove washboards and improve the overall condition.
80 Centerline Miles
El Paso County currently applies dust abatement to approximately 80 centerline miles of gravel roads per year.
It takes 5,632 gallons of dust abatement product and approximately 75,000 gallons of water to prep and apply the dust abatement for one mile of gravel road.
It costs approximately $300,000 for the dust abatement product to complete the 80 centerline miles per year.
The total cost per mile from start to finish is approximately $10,000.
We apply dust control chemical to the gravel roads that see higher traffic volumes.
Gravel roads are prepped for dust abatement by re-profiling all the drainage, setting the road back to correct width, and restablishing a 4% to 6% crown to shed water off the driving surface.
Gravel roads that have been chemically treated will only require routine maintenance once or twice a year.
El Paso County Department of Public Works (DPW) strives to provide for the efficient flow of traffic during periods of inclement winter weather. DPW maintains a fleet of snow removal equipment to include trucks with plows and sanders, motor graders, front-end loaders, and snow blowers.
Priorities have been established on roads and streets within the County’s jurisdiction. The main priority is to provide plowed roads to allow emergency vehicles to respond to cases involving human life and safety. Roads are also separated into Priority 1, 2, and 3 roads based on major arterials, heavy to low use, school routes, firestation locations, emergency responder access, and residential areas.