Surface treatments


Washington County uses a grader to restore the surface, shape and drainage on gravel roads. The long adjustable grading blade removes washboards, ruts, potholes and other road irregularities. Rock is added to segments that require it, and incorporated in the road surface with the grader.

Several factors influence the effectiveness of grading:

  • Moisture in the road base
  • Current weather
  • Speed and type of traffic using the road

Note: Grading activities usually only occur between the months of October and May due to limitations in moisture in the aggregate.


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Surface stabilization

Washington County maintains over 200 miles of gravel roads. Lignin sulfonate, the product the County applies for surface stabilization, is applied to specific, targeted areas of gravel roads. The areas generally include hills, corners and other areas prone to rutting, washboarding or potholes.

With the current limited budget, the County has to be very selective on areas it chooses to apply the product to. Only about 8 percent of the cumulative surface area receives surface stabilization applications.

Dust control

Homeowners that experience dust issues can apply for a dust control permit. These permits allow residents to hire a private contractor to apply dust abatement over portions of roadway not specifically targeted by the County. The permit allows County road grading to be coordinated with the private contractor's application of the dust control material. The permit also ensures only environmentally safe products are used and applied appropriately.

Dust control treatments help to reduce traffic-generated dust on rural gravel roads. The treatment, often called "dust oil," is an environmentally safe product made from pulp mills. It reduces air-borne dust which can be an annoyance for adjacent residents and be harmful to adjacent crop production.

Motorists can help reduce traffic-generated dust by driving slowly on gravel roads. Driving too fast can also cause washboarding and damage to the road surface increasing the taxpayers' maintenance costs. 

How to request gravel road maintenance?

For roads maintained by Washington County submit a road maintenance service request.

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