Smoothing half-finished gravel driveway

Skidude108

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I am building a house, so my driveway (1000ft long) is half-finished. Until construction equipment is done coming in and out it just has 4in crusher-run gravel.
This spring some ruts are developing that I will need to smooth out once things dry. I just picked up a two-blade land leveler, but I'm afraid if I use that I'll just end up with all the 4in rocks sitting on top of packed down finer stuff. Does anybody have experience grading this rough base layer with a land plane? I could use some tips, I have only used this tractor for snowblowing so far!
 

johnjk

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I have a similar drive and the heavier vehicles (mixers, semis) brought the 4” rocks to the surface for me. I’m now fighting the mix of crusher and 4” that I will never win. I would use the leveler and if you have rippers, rip a few inches deep in those ruts. If you have the ability to rent a roller, compact it all together. This should help keep it from getting chewed up a bit less. My contractor didn’t call me until after I had 18” deep ruts from the mixer from pouring after two days of rain. Called the driveway guy back out but the damage was done. He regraded it and compacted it with the dozer but yeah, I will be buying rock this year to fill all my holes.
That being said I will use a box blade to break it up. No land plane here but it is on my list.
 
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old and tired

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Land leveler is fine if you have several inches of 3/4" minus compacted. Not worth it if you have the road base showing thru. You need many more lifts of the smaller crusher-run, compacted down every couple of inches.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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I can't believe the frost is GONE in Maine already.....
Hopefully your driveway is 16' wide and yes a ROLLER is really needed to pack a base down.
2nd choice is a forklift with 5000# of steel on it.....
'base' should be 2' below grade, compacted every 4-6" of material,big on the bottom, smaller at the top.
 
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jimh406

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I don't have 4 inch, but had 2 inch around my upper shed. Even 4 inch rocks will overflow the back. I've had random 6-8 inch rocks cycle through on the community road. The grader/scraper will work ok, but there is only so much you can do to finish it without smaller rock and fines on it.

If I was you, I'd just smooth it out with the grader scraper to fill the ruts and wait for the fines after the construction people are done. In my experience, they don't tend to baby driveways. ;).

It would be great to have a roller, but a good sized tractor with loaded R4 tires does a pretty good job at packing on my driveway or the community road. You've had some packing down already by the vehicle traffic. Again, I just wouldn't worry about it too much until the construction people are done.
 
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North Idaho Wolfman

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If you asking if you can level 4" with a land Plane, Nope won't do it.
you'll just beat the snot out of it and you might even break something.
Just add more 4" and blade and roll.

Did they put down cloth?
 
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jimh406

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If you asking if you can level 4" with a land Plane, Nope won't do it.
you'll just beat the snot out of it and you might even break something.
I don't understand why you think a land plane won't work to level. The blades just push the rock from right to left, and the rock drops in the rut(s). No finesse is required.

Of course, if he added more 4", it still needs to be leveled. What would you propose for that? Or, maybe you think he'll pay someone to level it. If that is the case, that same person could level the existing rock.
 

Skidude108

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Land leveler is fine if you have several inches of 3/4" minus compacted. Not worth it if you have the road base showing thru.
There is nothing on top of the base yet, so I'd be leveling the 4in crusher run base.
I can't believe the frost is GONE in Maine already.....
Hopefully your driveway is 16' wide and yes a ROLLER is really needed to pack a base down.
2nd choice is a forklift with 5000# of steel on it.....
'base' should be 2' below grade, compacted every 4-6" of material,big on the bottom, smaller at the top.
Frost isn't gone yet, but for the past few weeks it has been warm enough during the day that the top couple inches thaw and the water has nowhere to drain. It's extra-messy this year. Now we're getting a foot of snow on top of half-frozen ground so that should be fun to deal with.
Why 16ft wide? For the construction vehicles? The cleared area is definitely wider than 16ft, but the actual road surface may only be 14ft in a couple places.
The excavator made the classic mistake of thinking his 55,000lb excavator would pack the driveway down because he doesn't understand contact pressure I guess. There is a lot more than 4-6" of material in most places, but I may try to rent a roller before I put any additional layers on.
If I was you, I'd just smooth it out with the grader scraper to fill the ruts and wait for the fines after the construction people are done. In my experience, they don't tend to baby driveways. ;).

It would be great to have a roller, but a good sized tractor with loaded R4 tires does a pretty good job at packing on my driveway or the community road.
Does my L3240 count as "good sized"? It has loaded R4 tires at least.
If you asking if you can level 4" with a land Plane, Nope won't do it.
you'll just beat the snot out of it and you might even break something.
Just add more 4" and blade and roll.

Did they put down cloth?
They did put down cloth. My land plane is brand new, I really don't want to break anything, which is half of why I asked here.
I don't understand why you think a land plane won't work to level. The blades just push the rock from right to left, and the rock drops in the rut(s). No finesse is required.

Of course, if he added more 4", it still needs to be leveled. What would you propose for that? Or, maybe you think he'll pay someone to level it. If that is the case, that same person could level the existing rock.
I bought the land plane so I can stop paying people to build the driveway. I'll probably rent a box blade for a couple weekends when it is time to add the next layers of gravel, but otherwise I'm hoping to do everything else with the land plane.
My fear is that the 4in rocks are so big and compacted in that they would break/bend something. Or that the land plane won't go deep enough and I'll just have 4in boulders sitting on top of the sand or something when I'm done.
 

North Idaho Wolfman

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I don't understand why you think a land plane won't work to level. The blades just push the rock from right to left, and the rock drops in the rut(s). No finesse is required.

Of course, if he added more 4", it still needs to be leveled. What would you propose for that? Or, maybe you think he'll pay someone to level it. If that is the case, that same person could level the existing rock.
Because I've had first hand experience running a landplane, for many a year, and anytime It hits any rocks anywhere close to 4" it not pretty!
They just don't pop up and start rolling around they go under the blade lifting the blade and throwing it around.
4" rounds are bad, 4" crushed is horrible!

Using a standard blade or a box blade on 4" un-compacted is hard enough, but doing it on compacted rutted ground adds a whole new complexity to it, it's not going to play nice.

This is why I suggested he add some 4" and level that and then compact that.
A simple blade or a rented box blade will make that easier.
 

North Idaho Wolfman

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I bought the land plane so I can stop paying people to build the driveway. I'll probably rent a box blade for a couple weekends when it is time to add the next layers of gravel, but otherwise I'm hoping to do everything else with the land plane.
My fear is that the 4in rocks are so big and compacted in that they would break/bend something. Or that the land plane won't go deep enough and I'll just have 4in boulders sitting on top of the sand or something when I'm done.
You could rent a box blade to level the 4" to some degree, but your going to need to compact it to get it to work well and stay down were you want it.

You can use a land plane to level the smaller material in nothing flat, just have the trucks drop spread the material, then you will not have piles to deal with.
This is where they put chains on the tail gate to limit it's opening and spread the material when they dump and drive.
You're also going to need to compact it with something a lot better than a tractor, rent a vibrating roller!
 
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jimh406

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Because I've had first hand experience running a landplane, for many a year, and anytime It hits any rocks anywhere close to 4" it not pretty!
They just don't pop up and start rolling around they go under the blade lifting the blade and throwing it around.
4" rounds are bad, 4" crushed is horrible!
That's not been my experience. Maybe our rocks are different or there is a difference in our land planes. Mine with QH is over 900 lbs. Nothing lifts my land plane no matter how big it is.
 

jimh406

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Does my L3240 count as "good sized"? It has loaded R4 tires at least.

They did put down cloth. My land plane is brand new, I really don't want to break anything, which is half of why I asked here.

I call an L a good sized tractor.

I don't think it break anything if the scarifiers aren't down. I think it will either spread the gravel/rock or float on top and do nothing.

Obviously, North Idaho Wolfman says it will roll the rocks, but that's not what I've seen. Based on sample size of two, you have a 50% chance. ;)
 

North Idaho Wolfman

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If you follow Jim's advice, My only other suggestion would be take it slow and good luck! ;)
 

GreensvilleJay

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my 16' was the 'cleared land' width, roadway is 10' wide. it seems Mother Nature has a habit of QUICKLY retaking HER land, a bush here, another there, couple of twigs magically turn into real trees ,overnight...... ;) In a couple years branches are hitting your wife's car...:( NOW you're got a major roadway rework on YOUR list.....
Here in southern Ontario ,the frost gets down about 4', so the better and deeper the 'base' for a road, the longer(in time) and smoother it'll be. My 80' section of pavers has a 2' deep base, well tamped every 4" of material. It's stayed flat and level since 2014, even with the 7000# forklift on it every week or so.
Driveways are one of those projects where if you do it right the first time, you won't have to redo it too often.
 

Skidude108

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I know the excavator who built the road last year did not properly compact it. He thought his 55,000lb excavator would be plenty but didn't understand that spreading the weight out over the huge tracks eliminated any compacting ability it would have had. Unfortunately I didn't push him on it. I'll definitely rent a roller when I add the next layers on, and I'll pick it up before any dirt is delivered so I can roll what's there first but there is quite a bit of gravel that will just have to compact naturally over time at this point.
 

GreensvilleJay

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curious... did they remove all the top soil before they laid down the gravel the 1st time ? If not, then the top soil underneath the gravel will affect the road,how bad, depends on the type of 'top soil', water conditions,vehicles, nearby trees and veg,etc.
 

Skidude108

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They better have removed the topsoil! I lived 100 miles away while they were building, so I didn't get to inspect their work very often but the scope we discussed was removal of topsoil, fabric, then a solid base ~2ft of 4in crusher run compacted with the excavator. If I find out there's topsoil under the fabric I will be livid. The top soil in that area is basically swamp!
 

GreensvilleJay

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My Uncle Bob ( yes, I really did have an Uncle Bob).... 'lost' 2 big dozers into the muskeg while building the Alaskan Highway
 

dirtydeed

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if all else fails, simply follow this guy's lead. He ended up with a freshly graded driveway... using his trailer.


(I warned you guys that I would reference this thread whenever this topic comes up)
 
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North Idaho Wolfman

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if all else fails, simply follow this guy's lead. He ended up with a freshly graded driveway... using his trailer.


(I warned you guys that I would reference this thread whenever this topic comes up)
That video just makes me sick to my stomach, 2 seconds of backing up would have saved him / his insurance company, a ton of money.
 
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