Road Management & Engineering Journal
Road Management & Engineering Journal
September, 2000
TranSafety, Inc.
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Rural Residents Pitch in for Dust Control
by Lisa Harris

(This article is reproduced, with permission, from the Spring 1999 issue of the KUTC Newsletter, a publication of the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) of the University of Kansas Transportation Center in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.)

Do rural homeowners in your county or township want more money spent on dust control than you have in your budget? Pottawatomie County found a solution to this problem by requiring residents to share the cost for dust treatment in front of their homes.

Application Process

Each spring the county takes applications from homeowners who would like to participate in the program. Application forms are provided by the county. Residents pay about a third of the cost for the treatment. They are charged 30 cents per linear foot for a minimum of 500 feet, or about $150 per household. Magnesium chloride is applied to the road usually in May or June, after the spring rains clear up.

The county's dust control cost-share program has been in place for a decade, and it has been a big success. "We have a lot of repeat customers," says Vicki Jones, Engineering Technician. "Once they get their road treated, they really like it."

Most participants are individual homeowners, but in a few cases, households in entire subdivisions have banded together to share the dust control cost for their neighborhoods. Another participant site is the Oregon Trail Park, maintained by KPL.

Policy Spells Out Program

Pottawatomie County's dust control policy states "Any county resident that desires dust control must make written request and pay the total amount in advance . . . Residents are required to mark the area to be treated (flags, posts, etc.) or provide a detailed map showing the starting and ending points of the application beginning at a known reference point."

The policy also states that surface maintenance will not normally be conducted on these sections of roads unless conditions warrant.

MgCl Preferred

The county has experimented with various treatments over the years and now prefers magnesium chloride applied at a rate of 3/10 gallon per square yard. The county has used calcium chloride, but, according to Jones, "magnesium chloride seems to wear longer; if the road is bladed, they find more residual." The county also finds magnesium chloride to be less expensive, according to Jones.

Timing of Chemical Application

About 50 residents or groups participate in the cost-share program each year. There is no set application period. Most applications arrive in late spring. "Some come as early as March," says Jones. "There's no actual cut-off date, but we're thinking about it."

County policy states that applications will be done "between May 1st and September 30th, based on weather conditions, availability of materials, and scheduling."

For more information on Pottawatomie County's dust control cost-share program, contact Vicki Jones, Engineering Technician, at 785/457-3631.

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