Tag Archives: fallen branches as road hazards

Gravel Road Hazards

My gravel road is like other similar roads for many road hazards. The most common ones would be potholes and washboards.

Most drivers, if not all, are familiar with potholes. On a gravel road water causes the potholes either by digging them out or by turning part of the road to mud. Tires toss the mud out forming the pothole.

gravel road in summer

One of the special things about living here is the gravel road with its edges in trees and wildflowers. This is one of the pictures used in “My Ozark Home.”

No matter how the potholes are dug, traffic either goes around, straddles or bounces through them. The road grader dutifully fills the holes with loose gravel which gets wet and tossed out again.

Trees line my gravel road. Surprisingly these trees are road hazards.

Black walnuts and oaks are sturdy trees. They get big with massive branches reaching out across the road sheltering and shading it.

This year the black walnuts hang heavy with nuts at the branch tips. Each nut is small compared to the tree or even the branch. Lots of nuts means lots of weight.

Coming home the other day I found one result of this combination. A branch had bent too far from the weight and snapped off. It lay across the road partially blocking it.

branches can be road hazards

My truck would squeeze by this branch if I go onto the shoulder. Smaller branches are easily driven over which breaks them up. Such a road hazard is annoying and the cure is a fifteen minute exercise of sawing and shoving.

There are several options when a branch or tree falls onto the gravel road. The one picked depends on how much of the road is blocked and how big the branch or tree is.

A large tree requires calling someone with a chain saw to come and cut it up. Usually the road crew arrives with chain saws and large equipment to pick up or shove the pieces to the side of the road.

A small tree or snag which is a dead tree with no branches can be picked up at one end and moved out of the way.

The branch I faced gave me four options. First was calling the road crew. This seemed ridiculous for such a small branch. Besides, I have no cell phone and would have to walk or drive a quarter mile or more to a house hoping someone was home.

One was to drive around or over it. This works well for smaller branches, but not this one.

saw for cutting wood road hazards

This is a great little saw. It’s less than two feet long including handle. One side has coarse teeth. The other has the teeth different lengths as are found on a bow saw. These cut through branches quickly.

Third was to push the branch out of the way. I got out of my truck to heft the branch. It was too heavy and, being split, too awkward.

That left me with the final option, one I am prepared for. Pruners and saw are kept in my truck. Pruners were no help. The saw was the thing.

A couple of cuts and the branch was in three pieces. I shoved these off the road and went home.

road hazards pushed aside

In a day or two these branches will be covered with brown leaves. The leaves drop leaving bare branches. Unless the brush cutter chews them up, the branches will provide bird perches for years. The road crew dumps these branches over the fence sometimes.

There is one big drawback to lining the road with fallen trees or branches, one creating serious road hazards. Large amounts of water from big storms will race along these and dig deep ditches along the road.

I still prefer my gravel road with its trees and fields in spite of the road hazards.

Find out more about living on my gravel road on the sample pages from “My Ozark Home.