Hundreds of dirt and gravel roads run through large commercial farms in South Africa. The farmer must always keep these roads in tip-top shape due to safety considerations as well as to make his vehicles’ tyres last longer. And in some cases, new access roads and driveways need to be built while in the many dry, high fire-risk parts of the country, building and maintaining firebreaks to stop runaway fires from spreading across several other farms is most important.
A well-designed and properly built road – whatever the purpose – will last a lifetime but shoddily constructed roads where shortcuts are taken to complete it in a hurry, are far costlier in the end. Machinery provided by Radium Engineering is available for purchase by farmers for these purposes.
Use the right road grader that is the correct size for the job, with suitable grader blades, to get the job done properly. Radium has, among other road grader machines, a tractor-drawn Universal grader for sale that is versatile and ideally suited for larger-scale projects.
Make sure your road has excellent drainage by ensuring it is always in a good condition. It’s important to divert water into the ditches by making use of a road crown, culverts and shoulders. To prevent water from seeping in and damaging the base of the road during downpours – something that can happen easily at the crown and shoulders – you must divert the flow of the water to the ditches. Keep these areas clean and protected from erosion and ensure the ditches are wide enough to handle heavy rains.
The foundation that you build is critical; roads wear out from the top but disintegrate from the bottom. So, you need to use building materials that will form a stable foundation. When the materials get wet, they must not settle and they need to withstand load after load of heavy traffic. A poor base and inadequate drainage can’t be fixed by adding a level of gravel at the top.
The soil must be well compacted and wet for best results. You will have to source the best quality and priced soil from your particular area.
Bearing in mind the amount of maintenance gravel roads sometimes need, especially when they carry regular and heavy traffic, it’s important that you protect your initial investment when you first build the road by doing regular maintenance. This involves maintaining the road surface by keeping all sections clean and clear of debris and also keeping your machinery in good working order. Keep in mind that Radium Engineering provides after sales service on all machinery.
A general rule to decide how strong the road must be is to build it to carry the heaviest piece of equipment that will regularly use it under usual circumstances. You can use a mix of crushed stone, covered with a layer of gravel and lastly another layer of crushed stone. Use a wheel tractor or suitable heavy-duty equipment to pack every layer and wet it.
Paving and record keeping
There’s no point in paving dirt or gravel roads that are in a poor condition simply to remove the dust. So, pave only well-built roads with good drainage systems. Otherwise, it will be a waste of money. And remember to always keep an accurate record of the date, type of repair and the type and quantities of materials you use to help you make good decisions at a later stage.
Contact Radium today for more product information and to chat with one of our knowledgeable team members. Radium supplies a wide range of essential farming equipment for sale in South Africa,
including road grader machines.