Rural Boone County Holds Open Forum to Address Gravel Road Concerns

In Gravel Roads, GreenPave™, Soil-Sement® by Frank Elswick

Faced with a dwindling supply of gravel, Arkansas’ Boone County is considering alternative measures to strengthen its unpaved county roads. It might be overlooking the ideal solution to its issues.

The Harrison Daily recently reported that the Boone County Quorum Court’s Roads and Bridges Committee hosted a meeting to discuss the state of its unpaved gravel roads.

Boone County, Arkansas, currently has 350 miles of paved roads and about 1,350 miles of unpaved routes, most of which are in need of serious repair. Some of them are too narrow, while others don’t properly drain. In heavy rain, most of them become so saturated that they become too soft to use.

With funding and materials in short supply, Boone County has explored every solution to its transportation woes over the past year, from paving to regrading. Soil stabilization might be the one answer they’ve been looking for all along.

A Shortage of Materials

The meeting was focused on the rising costs of maintaining Boone County’s roads. In the past, the county bought its gravel from a Journagan Construction quarry for $3 per ton, but after hauling in 5,000 tons of gravel and 290 loads of road base in the first quarter of 2017, their supply started to decline. The county then purchased gravel from APAC for $7 a ton before turning to neighboring Marion County, but both suppliers proved too expensive.

Gravel isn’t the only scarce resource in Boone County. Red clay, a popular base for many unpaved roads in the area, is also proving hard to find. While the county could work with local landowners to extract clay when creating ponds on private property, County Judge Robert Hathaway told the Harrison Daily that “that source has partially dried up,” since “fewer and fewer people need a pond dug for them.”

To Pave or Not to Pave?

Boone County officially decided to undertake at least one paving project last year at the Roads and Bridges Committee meeting, but other solutions are still under consideration for future projects.

Many in the county see paving as the best option, but there might not be sufficient funding for such a project, since only 3% of Boone County property taxes are allocated towards its roads. The county has historically relied on FEMA and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) to defray some of the costs, but since ADEM currently lacks the money to contribute to repairs, the county will need to cover a full 25% of road repairs.

A year after Boone County met with local residents, a resolution to the funding shortage is still being explored. In the meantime, Judge Hathaway told residents that they shouldn’t hesitate to contact his office whenever the roads create challenges.

Strengthening Unpaved Roads

Paving isn’t the only answer to the problems posed by Boone County’s unpaved roads. With a reliable natural paving program, the county’s roads could become as durable as paved asphalt, providing much needed savings on routine maintenance in the years to come.

Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. has specialized in treating unpaved community and village roads for over four decades:



We’ve worked with villages, townships, and counties across the country and helped them engineer gravel roads that meet their community’s needs throughout the year. Backed by our patented GreenPave® technology, our Soil-Sement® polymer emulsion settles into the aggregate and binds with the native soils, forming an impenetrable surface with heightened load-bearing strength. Tested for durability, it reduces future maintenance costs and ensures compliance with environmental regulations.

Regardless of your needs, Midwest can help you develop a reliable and cost-effective natural paving solution for all of your gravel roads. Whether you’re in rural Arkansas or the heart of Senegal, Midwest stands ready to solve your most pressing transportation challenges.

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