Better Solutions for Unpaved Roads

Better Solutions for Unpaved Roads

In Dust Control, Environment, Surface Management by Frank Elswick

For one small town in Colorado, dust generated by dirt roads is a huge problem — one that becomes even more serious after promises for a solution have gone unfulfilled for a decade.

For nearly 10 years, public officials have promised the people of Pueblo West to pave the dirt roads in an unincorporated part of town, according to KDRO. Yet, they remained unpaved. When cars drove through Pueblo West, homes and yards are left covered in dust from the road.

The issue has become so serious that local residents have all but given up fighting the dust. “I just couldn’t keep it up because of the the dust, so I just let it go,” said Carl Brower, who lives along one of the disputed roadways.

The state of town’s thoroughfares has become a serious issue within the community. Unfortunately, public officials have estimated that paving the road would cost about a million dollars. With only a $2 million total budget, the project is out of reach — the main roads are the biggest budget concern. However, a new influx of tax revenue, may help some aspects of Pueblo West’s ailing roads, as KOAA explains .

What’s the Deal With Road Dust?

Road dust doesn’t just look bad — it can affect everything around the area as it disperses through the air. According to the EPA, road dust is made of small, coarse particles that can trigger and aggravate heart and lung conditions, including asthma. PM10 and PM2.5 pose major issues and need to be controlled.

Fugitive dust from unpaved roads also causes safety and environmental complications. In addition to displacement from traffic, water, wind, and snowmelt can carry dust particles away from the road, which in turn end up in streams and rivers, destroying aquatic habitats and degrading water quality. Moreover, without proper dust control, potholes and washboarding can become widespread problems for drivers, damaging their vehicles, obscuring drivers’ vision, and compromising the road surface’s safety.

Road Maintenance Options

For the people of Pueblo West, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. has solutions that can solve their dust problem without blowing their budget on a new, traditionally paved road surface. Both gravel and paved roads require proper management, but gravel roads installed and maintained with the latest materials are now a better option than ever before. New technology means that it is possible to maintain unpaved roads in a cost-efficient way while minimizing dust and surface integrity.

Midwest’s road dust control solutions suppress the problem at minimal cost with less intensive applications than any paving project. EnviroKleen® and EK35®, both Synthetic Organic Dust Control® solutions, are environmentally-friendly certified products that stabilize the road service for the traffic that depend on it. They can reduce dust up to 80% over a four year lifespan, growing stronger with use, and raise CBR-levels to strength comparable to pavement using the natural road surface.

Midwest’s Services

With budget constraints in mind, Midwest works to provide the best possible service. The Managed Services Program is a great option for smaller communities looking to reduce dust.

Midwest establishes, monitors, and maintains a prescribed-and-agreed upon dust level over the course of a contract. Additionally, to reduce the strain on internal resources, agreements on fixed annual expenses are established that can be billed in equal monthly payments, with unrivalled customer service by providing a single point of contact with one of the dedicated customer service providers. Midwest will be on call around the clock, seven days a week.

By becoming familiar with the roads in question through various seasons and weather conditions, site-specific scenarios can be fully accounted for. To ensure compliance to high standards, Midwest will continue improving every dust control program by adjusting it to the needs of local conditions.

Midwest’s optional services include turnkey application, with delivery or application at any time, environmental compliance support to help maintain regulatory compliance mandates across multiple industries, and laboratory soil testing on a wide range of soils. With Midwest, dust control isn’t just a quick fix — it’s a fully managed solution.

(Image credit: Phil Roeder/flickr)

Frank is the sales unit manager of Midwest's road construction and natural paving markets.