Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Roads in Springtime

These flags are a common sight on the edge of the road in GriggDakota, and when you see one, you better slow down and pay attention.
Rural roads, especially gravel roads or trails, are there to service local traffic and farm equipment. Most of the roads are public, but they are not meant to be traveled at high speeds.
They are service roads for the area farms and industry, so they often carry semis and heavy equipment. Those that are kept open in the winter, freeze solid and deep into the ground. They are often treacherous in the Spring.
Deer, that are seeking to get out of the mud and melting snow, hang out by the side of the road. They are most likely to be there when they are most difficult to see, dawn and dusk.
Snow melt in fields is an uneven process. Bridges of ice build up and hold back water on the fields. Eventually the ice dams break and water gushes through the gullies. The culverts in the roadway are still frozen, so the water gushes over the roads.
This is a natural physical process that has taken place for millions of years. Water seeks the lowest point as it flows into lakes, streams and rivers.
As the frost comes out of the road bed it can cause heaving and boils in the gravel surface. These potholes are dangerous if a car is traveling at a high speed.
The road surface becomes soft. It will take time for it to pack down and harden.
As Spring continues, the culverts thaw out and can handle the remaining melting snow. The road will dry up.
But it is important to remember that you never know what you will meet on one of these narrow trails in GriggsDakota. Please use caution and enjoy the drive.

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