How to Crown an Existing Gravel Road

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Gravel roads will require a crown to prevent potholes from forming.
Gravel roads will require a crown to prevent potholes from forming. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

It doesn’t matter if the gravel road was originally built with a perfect crown; it will eventually need to be resurfaced. Snowplows, heavy rain and high traffic will eventually flatten the road. A flat road will allow water to rest on the surface, and will quickly form potholes. The gravel road should be resurfaced to form a crown once a year to prevent potholes and erosion. In areas with large amounts of snow or rainfall, or with roads that are heavily trafficked, the road should be resurfaced twice a year.

Things You'll Need

  • Tractor
  • Box scraper
  • Tape measure
  • Grader blade

Moisten the gravel road with water. If the surface is dry, it will not settle properly. Do not allow the gravel to become completely soaked.

Drive over the surface of the gravel road with a box scraper. This will break up the gravel and allow it to be repositioned to form a new crown. Follow specific manufacturer's directions for attaching the box scraper; each one will vary depending on the type of tractor, and the type of box scraper.

Measure the width of the gravel road. A gravel road should have a crown with a height of ¼ inch for every foot that the road is wide. For example, a road that is 12 feet wide would have a crown height of 3 inches, meaning the center of the road should be 3 inches above ground level. Either side of the crown would angle from that height back down toward ground level.

Position a grader blade on the back of a tractor with an angle that matches the crown height; this means the lowest portion of the grader blade should be at ground level. The highest portion of the grader blade would have a height determined in Step 3.

Drive over one side of the gravel road. The grader blade will push the gravel into position and cause the crown to be formed on one side. Now drive over the opposite side of the road. Repeat this step two times to compact the gravel. The weight of the tractor will cause the gravel to be compacted back into place and provide a perfect crown for another year.

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