Low-Cost Rural Surface Alternatives

Project status


Start date: 06/01/11
End date: 12/31/13


Principal investigators:

Co-principal investigators:

About the research

Freezing/thawing action induces physical changes to granular surface road that can negatively impact public users, reduce emergency responder access/time, and results in increased maintenance costs for secondary road departments.  Stabilization can work to mitigate soft and eroded conditions of granular roads, but although technically feasible, can it be done economically?  The comprehensive literature review conducted during this phase of the research will address both the technical and economical aspects of stabilization for granular surfaced roadways with consideration of mature methods and emerging methods that show promise.

 The proposed objectives of this research project are as follows:

  • Conduct a comprehensive literature survey of the state of practice for granular surface road construction  with respect to freeze/thaw damage resistance
  • Develop recommendations with respect to conducting a phase 2 study to demonstrate various technologies. 


Report: Low-Cost Rural Surface Alternatives: Literature Review and Recommendations Final Report (6.16 mb pdf) December 2013

Tech transfer summary: Low-Cost Rural Surface Alternatives tech transfer summary (1.95 mb pdf) Dec 2013


Sponsor(s): Iowa Highway Research Board

Frost broil on a low volume road in Boone County (April 2011)
Low volume gravel surfaced road in Hamilton County (September 2011)
Rutting on a an emulsified oil stabilized gravel road surfaced with chip seal coat