the road less traveled

2016 Workshop attendees on a road relocation site in Southern York County.
The Newsletter of the Center for Dirt and Gravel Roads at Penn State
October 2016
In This Issue
Upcoming Events



2017 ESM Training to be scheduled soon
Q & A
How late in the year can I place DSA?

While there is not defined end-date, hopefully DSA placements are about wrapping up since it is now late October. Since DSA is placed at optimum moisture, it requires a weather window suitable to letting it dry out and "cure" after placement.  Colder temperatures and wet weather extend the drying needed.  This can lead to rutting if the DSA is subject to excess traffic while it is still wet.  The exact time to consider postponing DSA varies with the weather forecast, location in the state, elevation, aspect, canopy cover, moisture content, and the ability to close the road or control traffic during drying. The same rules apply to trying to place DSA to early in the spring.

Center for Dirt & Gravel
Road Studies;
Larson Transportation Institute;
Penn State University
201 Transportation Research Building, PA  16802
Toll-Free 1-866-NO-TO-MUD

The Center provides education, outreach, and technical assistance related to PA's Dirt, Gravel, and Low-Volume Road Maintenance Program. 

 Support provided by:
PA State Conservation Commission

2016 Annual Maintenance Workshop Summary

     The 2016 DGLVR workshop attracted 170 Conservation Professionals from across Pennsylvania to York, PA at the end of September, 2016.  Attendees included over 80 Conservation District Staff, representing 47 of the state's 65 participating Districts,  over 40 Bureau of Forestry staff, and many others from State agencies and private industry.  The workshop included 6 class sessions and 5 field trips to nearly 20 individual road sites.  Jeff Hines, CEO of the York Water Company, provided the welcome, while Russell Redding, PA Secretary of Agriculture, provided the keynote address.
     ALL of the 2016 workshop material, including pictures, presentations, handouts, site information, and survey results are available on the 2016 Workshop Proceedings page of the Center's Website.
Wade Brown (CDGRS) discusses a bottomless arch pipe with attendees.
NEW Bankfull Guidance Sheet Available    

     In 2014, the SCC enacted a policy limiting the structural replacement of stream crossings to those that were causing significant environmental impacts.  Only structures that are undersized compared to the stream's bankfull channel are eligible for replacement, and any new structures are required to accommodate the bankfull flows.
     In order to assist Conservation Districts in  interpretation and implementation of the policy, the C enter has developed a new one-page  "Bankfull Determination Guidance Sheet".  The sheet will eventually be incorporated onto the back of the Program's existing stream crossing evaluation sheet.  This document is currently available on the Center's website here.
GIS Trainings Scheduled

     Conservation Districts are reminded that the Center has scheduled two GIS trainings, a "standard" training on November 1, and an "advanced" training on November 2. The "standard" trainings will include a complete walkthrough of the GIS system to let Conservation Districts complete the 2016 Annual Summary Report that is due January 15th 2017.  The "advanced" training will assume attendees can already create sites and input data, and will focus on advanced features such as creating maps, advanced editing features, data analysis, and more.  Space is still available for all trainings, see "upcoming events" to the left for dates and registration information.   Registration deadline of 10/27.
Center Completes Educational Demo Projects with Bureau of Forestry
French mattress construction on Wirt Road in Michaux State Forest

     Each year, the Center works collaboratively with the PA Bureau of Forestry to fund several demonstration projects in forests across the state. In 2016, several projects were completed in the Michaux State forest that showcased innovative practices and provided field sites as part of the 2016 Annual Maintenance Workshop.   A Project was completed on an entrenched section of Carbaugh Road that consisted of a 1-2' partial fill reinforced with geo-grid, additional drainage outlets, ditch stabilization, underdrain, and 2RC base.  The Wirt Road Project, pictured above, addressed a recurring flooding issues with  several pipe installations, construction of 560 feet of French mattress with relief pipes, partial road fill with 2RC, and bridge approach reinforcement with geo-grid.  A third project was completed on  Irishtown road consisting of  600' of underdrain, a small French mattress, and turnouts. 
Urban LVR Projects

Urban stormwater infiltration project in the City of Lancaster

     Many attendees at the 2016 workshop visited several urban stormwater infiltration projects that have been completed with non-Program funds in the City of Lancaster.  Sites visited included porous pavement alleys, infiltration basins under roads, curb "bump-outs" with infiltration beds, rain gardens, and more.  With the evolution of the LVR portion of the Program, some of the more urban counties are starting to fund such urban projects.  Surveys completed after the workshop field trip indicate that 69% of CD respondents would be likely to fund such urban projects in their counties, and that 98% of respondents believe that these urban project relate well (60%) or somewhat well (38%) to the goals of the Program.  It is up to individual Conservation Districts to determine their funding priorities within their county.
In Other News...
this recurring feature highlights related topics beyond the Program.

First "Rural Road Ecology and Maintenance" Class Underway at Penn State

     The Center has taken its successful "Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM)" course for unpaved and low volume road, and incorporated it into a class for students at Penn State.  The course is housed under the "Environmental Resource Management" Program under the College of Agriculture.  This is the first semester that the course has been offered.  Road and erosion issues are ubiquitous through many environmental or conservation professions, yet road impacts are largely absent from most college curriculum. This course will insure that students have an understanding of rural roads and their potential environmental impacts that may benefit them after graduation.  Student will also be ESM Certified at the completion of the course. The PA Bureau of Forestry strongly supports the course and believes it will be beneficial to the upcoming class of foresters.  Eric Chase, Research Coordinator with the Center, is developing and teaching the course.

The Course :
The 400 level course is open to both graduate and undergraduate students, and is divided into three main components:
1) Basic hydrology and the impacts of rural roads
2) ESM principles based of the current ESM training
3) Current research and project design work, including a field trip to completed and potential project sites.

The Audience :
23 Students are enrolled in the course this semester.  There are 6 majors represented, with the majority of students enrolled in the Environmental Resource Management or Forestry Majors through the College of Agriculture.
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