US Department of Agriculture, USDA Forest Service, Technology and Development Program Banner with Logos.
Images from various aspects of the T&D Program.
HomeAbout T&DT&D PubsT&D NewsProgram AreasHelpContact Us
Search T&D
  Search all USDA
Program Areas
Left Nav Bottom
T&D > Programs Areas > Engineering > Transportation Planning Program Areas

Solutions for Changing Access Needs on Forest Service Roads

Authors: Greg Napper and Ed Messerlie


This project addresses the needs of the forest service to get larger vehicles down the road. Timber sales are increasingly being sold with a component of fuels treatment that often includes chipping. To get the chips out of the woods, chip vans are used to transport material out of the sale area. Most roads were not designed with these vehicles in mind. The roads were designed to accommodate traditional stinger style log trucks. This raises issues due to decreased ground clearance and increased off-tracking exhibited by the chip vans. The problem we are addressing is the emergence of a new design vehicle on forest service roads.

The first part of this project addresses planning, and both economic and resource issues associated with chipping operations and changing design vehicles. Good transportation planning and sale planning helps forest personnel avoid unnecessary costs and impacts to resources. Chipping at the landing may not always be the only option. This part of the project provides guidelines for making decisions on how much road work should be done to accommodate the larger vehicles. We will present options that help inform these decisions.

The second part of this project addresses the road design elements that need to be considered to accommodate the larger vehicles. Those design elements are horizontal and vertical alignment. This project provides tools for evaluating existing roads that may need to be modified, and can serve as an aid in designing new road elements. It also provides tools that sale administrators can use to resolve access issues.

Photo of white truck.
Quality purposes