Choosing Driveway and Road Material

When our project was started in November 2016, the first activity was to improve the existing rough track into an access road and driveway. That was done by grading the soil and covering it with rough gravel. This made it possible for the heavy machinery to access the property.

Now that most of the heavy work is complete, it’s time to consider resurfacing the access road and driveway. We don’t have to do this; many country houses like ours are reached only by a rough gravel road. It’s so common that these roads have a name: strada bianca, or white road.

We’d like to do a better road for a couple of reasons: we’d like to reduce erosion as much as we can, we want to sure there is good traction for the uphill climb, and we’d like it to look nice.

Overall, we’re probably looking at redoing 500 meters or so of road surface: 50 meters for the driveway and the rest for the access road that connects us to the nearest house and road.

Kevin presented two options for the access road and driveway: reinforced concrete or compacted red gravel.

Concrete Driveway Example
Concrete Driveway Example
Compacted Red Gravel Driveway Example
Compacted Red Gravel Driveway Example

Both of these options include a couple of important elements: concrete borders, or curbs, to strengthen and maintain the edges of the road, and drainage channels to move the water away.

Driveway Borders
Driveway Borders
Driveway Drains
Driveway Drains

We thought both options would look nice, with the red gravel probably having the edge. Conversely, the concrete would require less — essentially no — maintenance and would provide better traction.

While we were pondering, Kevin proposed, and then a few hours later withdrew, an idea to combine the two surfaces, using concrete at the places where traction is critical and doing the rest in compacted gravel.

Given my concern with the slope, I was leaning toward concrete. However, it would be about 50% more expensive that gravel. Figuring we could redo it in concrete if we decided with experience that we needed the traction, we decided to go with the compacted red gravel.

Source:
Images: Material suppliers

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