the road less traveled

The Newsletter of the Center for Dirt and Gravel Roads at Penn State
February 2017
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Lancaster County - 2/28
Luzerne County -  3/1
Centre County - 3/7

Greene County

Elk County 

CD New-Hire Training
State College
Admin day: 3/28
GIS day: 3/29
Field day: 3/30
State College 4/4

Indiana County

Bradford County

Cumberland County

Tioga County

Elk County

Indiana County

Crawford County

Pike County

Centre County

Snyder County

Huntingdon County

Dauphin County
State College
August date TBD

  Annual Workshop
Bradford County

Pike County

Berks County

Centre County
Q & A
I heard the Program's "Stream Crossing Replacement Policy" is changing, when and how will it change?

The Stream Crossing Policy change will be presented as part of the DGLVR administrative manual update, currently scheduled for action at the 3/14 State Conservation Commission meeting.  If approved, the several changes to the policy will open up DGLVR funding to a large range of stream crossing structures. Changes include:
- Pipes 4' or less will be automatically eligible for replacement (now 3' or less)
- Existing crossings that are 75% or less of the bankfull width will be eligible for replacement (now 50% or less)
- Existing crossings consisting of multiple culverts will automatically eligible for replacement. 

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 DGLVR Program Summary

     2016 marked the second construction season since the Program's funding increase and addition of Low-Volume Roads in FY 2014-15.  Conservation District across the state recently updated the Program's project database through 2016, and Center and SCC staff are currently working on a printed 2016 Annual Summary Report.  
     Conservation Districts completed 347 Dirt and Gravel Projects worth over $13 million, and 123 paved Low-Volume projects worth over $3.5 million in 2016.  In addition to those completed projects, districts reported 350 active Dirt and Gravel contracts totaling $18 million and 150 active paved Low-Volume road contracts totaling $5.7 million as of 1/31/2017.   A webinar summarizing the Annual Summary Report was recorded on 2/14 and can be viewed at:

Graph showing spending on completed projects per year.  
Trainings, Webinars, and Workshops... oh my...

     There are a wide variety of trainings and sessions available to Conservation Districts in 2017.  A quick summary of each is below.  Dates and registration links can be found in the "upcoming event" section on the left.

ESM Trainings
     12 of the Program's two-day Environmentally Sensitive Road Maintenance trainings are currently scheduled across Pennsylvania for 2017.  Municipalities are required to attend one of these training in the past five years in order to be eligible to apply for Program funds.  Locations, dates, and registration links can be found in the "Upcoming Events" Column to the left.

     The Center is presenting a series of six brief topic-specific webinars aimed at conservation districts this Winter/Spring.  Three webinars remain in the series, "Project Sharing Session Highlights" 3/17, "Administrative Manual Changes Overview"3/21, and "CD Replenishment and Direct Deposit" 4/18.  Links to past completed webinars, and details for the upcoming webinars can be found here

Project Sharing Sessions
     Four regional sessions have been scheduled around the State to allow CDs to share their projects with each other and SCC/Center staff.  The first session, held in Clarion on 2/22 was a great success with 14 attendees from 13 different CDs.  The schedule and details for the remaining sessions can be found in the "Upcoming Events" Column to the left.
DGLVR Bankfull / Stream Crossing Trainings
    Five regional "Bankfull / Stream Crossing" trainings for Conservation Districts are scheduled for Spring 2017. These trainings will focus on the Program's bankfull policy, bankfull determination, and a primer on improving stream crossing installation.  Locations, dates, and registration details can be found in the "Upcoming Events" Column to the left.

NAACC Culvert Assessment Training
     This two-day training will focus on the "North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative" effort to inventory and assess road stream crossing for stream connectivity through the road.  More details at

DGLVR New Hire Training
    This 3 day session (3/28-30) for Conservation District staff will include an Administrative Training, GIS Training, and Field day.  While it is intended for staff new to the Program, anyone is welcome to attend as a refresher (one, two or all three days). More information and registration can be found here
   This will be the only Administrative Training for 2017.

2017 Annual Maintenance Workshop
     The Center's Annual Maintenance Workshop will be held in Sayre, PA, on September 26-28.  More information and registration details will be available in the coming months.  Bradford County , one of the largest counties in the Program, looks to have a large variety of project sites that will be highlighted on several field trips.

2016 New-Hire field day attendees on a road in Huntingdon County.
DGLVR Administrative Manual Update

    The SCC's current DGLVR Admin Manual was approved by the State Conservation Commission in November of 2014.  Center and SCC staff have worked with advisory workgroups and others on making changes to the manual over the past 6 months.  The Conservation District comment period ended on 12/31/16.  The manual is currently undergoing final edits and approvals, and it should be recommended for approval at the 3/14/17 State Conservation Commission regular meeting.
DSA Season Approaches
     A mild winter means some counties will be considering starting placement of Driving Surface Aggregate (DSA) in the near future.  The Program placed over a quarter-of-a-million tons of DSA on road projects in 2016 alone, and 2017 is likely to be even busier.  A couple of things to keep in mind as "DSA Season" approaches:
  • Early spring DSA placements can be tricky.  DSA must be placed in conditions that will give the material a chance to dry out and "cure".  Avoid placing material before prolonged wet or cold weather.  The amount of time needed for drying depends on a number of factors besides weather such as: shade, base moisture, DSA fine content, thickness, and ability to limit or control traffic.
  • The Program requires DSA placements in excess of 1,000 tons to be placed using a paver.
  • DSA piles must be independently tested prior to purchase.  Make sure to plan ahead for sampling and testing time when scheduling projects.
  • The Center's "Aggregate Clearinghouse" is available to assist Conservation Districts in planning, testing, placement, and troubleshooting on request.  Make requests early though, as the DSA season gets busy very quickly!
In Other News...
this recurring feature highlights related topics outside the Program.

Center Hosts "Successes in Rural Road Maintenance and Ecology" Research Symposium
     To help celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pennsylvania's Dirt, Gravel, and Low-Volume Road Maintenance Program, the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies at Penn State is sponsoring a "Successes in Rural Road Maintenance and Ecology" Symposium, to be held on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm at the Flex Theater Auditorium, First Floor, HUB, Penn State, University Park, PA. This symposium seeks to highlight project successes and research related to sustainable rural road maintenance and ecology by bringing together road managers, academics, government employees, and the non-profit sector to share their stories and accomplishments.
     We encourage road managers, students and faculty of Penn State and other universities, and anyone working with rural roads to submit abstracts for our poster session that highlight either a road project or research related to rural roads and the environment. For more information, or to register and/or submit your abstract, click HERE. Questions may be directed to Eric Chase via email at .

The Center's real-time dust monitoring vehicle in action.
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