TD News, Number 3, 2003 - Internet Web Site: '' Send an e-mail request for username and password to: ''

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Road Surface Stabilization With Chlorides

The Forest Service maintains thousands of miles of roads surfaced with aggregate. If chlorides were used to stabilize these roads, maintenance might be reduced significantly, saving the agency a lot of money. The Unpaved Road Surface Stabilization Project is a 3-year study evaluating the effects of stabilizing aggregate roads with chloride products. In the spring of 2003, construction was completed on 79 short test sections of 12 different Forest Service roads in Montana, Idaho, and Oregon. Of these sections, 39 were treated with various chloride products and 40 were left untreated as control sections. The treated sections were stabilized by mixing chloride products to a depth of 2 inches into the aggregate surfacing.

Over the next 3 years, traffic counts, weather conditions, and performance ratings will be collected for each road section. These data will be used to determine chloride’s effectiveness as a stabilization agent. The test will also determine the most cost-effective and desirable form of chloride-brine (flake or pellet) and the most effective application rate and construction methods.

Data collected during the first field season indicate a significant difference in performance between the treated and untreated sections. The serviceability level of the treated sections is two to three times higher than the untreated control sections. As this study progresses, SDTDC will prepare an interim report summarizing the results.

Photo of road stabilization.

For more information about this project, contact Mike Mitchell, project leader (phone: 909–599–1267, ext. 246; fax: 909–592–2309; e-mail:

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