Adams County tests innovative approach to gravel roads

'Our Colorado' tests new approach to roads
Posted at 10:07 PM, Jun 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-30 01:33:22-04

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BENNETT, Colo. -- On the Eastern Plains, the Town of Bennett is experiencing a housing boom, and it is not alone in Adams County, where about a thousand people have been moving every month for the last three-to-four years. 

Jon Gresham, a longtime Adams County resident, said all those new drivers have taken a toll on the roads.

"You think we're in the country, and it's all farm country and just farmers on the road, but it's not. It's everybody else," said Gresham, who pointed to new gravel put down last year. "It used to be potholes, but now it's the best it's ever been."

Five years ago, Adams County spent only $50,000 a year on gravel roads, but now it has approved $3 million for road repair, and that is just the start.

"For years, we know these roads were neglected," said Jim Siedlecki, Adams County's Communications Director. "The growth has forced us to take a new approach for treating our gravel roads in these kind of communities. We're seeing different kinds of residents, different kinds of cars and a lot more of them."

In a county where about 60 percent of the roads are gravel, Public Works has launched a Gravel Road Resurfacing program.

Instead of a typical gravel road approach, which has to be graded several times a year, Adams County is using an innovative blend of recycled materials for its gravel and then sealing it with a unique polymer top coat engineers there developed.

Not only is it a fraction of the cost of asphalt, it is more environmentally friendly than typical gravel treatments and lasts longer in difficult Colorado weather.

"The thing with these products is they are non-leeching, non-corrosive and they are biodegradable," said Jeremy Reichert, the Operations Manager for Adams County Public Works.

The results is a road that drives almost like asphalt, according to people relieved at the change.

"I can't complain," said Dennis Simpson, who wasn't thrilled about the growth in Bennett at first, but is happy about his new road. "We moved to a small down for obvious reasons, but the growth has been beneficial in Bennett."

The County resurfaced 150 miles of gravel road last year and is planning to resurface 200 more this year, but they have about 1,300 miles to go.