VENANGO DIRT GRAVEL & LOW VOLUE ROADS PROGRAM
Dirt and Gravel Roads
Pennsylvania has over 117,000 miles of roads. Of that total, over 25,000 are unpaved, predominately dirt and/or gravel. For many years, concern has increased regarding runoff generated from dirt and gravel roads. Several years ago, Pennsylvania Trout (a council of "Trout Unlimited") began to voice collected concerns about sediment pollution originating from unpaved roads causing problems in the state's premier trout streams. From those concerns, a task force comprised of sportsmen and women, environmental resource agencies, local government representatives, private companies, citizen environmental groups, Penn State researchers, and legislative staff was assembled to further investigate those concerns. From that investigation, a locally-based, locally-controlled, cooperative approach to eliminate non-point source pollution occurring from rural roadways was recommended. Long-story-short, legislation was passed to provide money from the motor license fund, through conservation districts to municipalities to employ "environmentally sound" maintenance of dirt and gravel roads... to the tune of $4,000,000 a year!
How does the program work?
The total funding dollars are divided among Pennsylvania's 66 conservation districts based largely upon the total of unpaved road areas in each respective county. From there, any township that maintains dirt and gravel roads (excluding paved or tar and chip) is eligible to apply for a road maintenance 'grant'. The only requirements are that the individual who is responsible for the project attends a two-day training session on environmentally sensitive road maintenance, the road is owned by the municipality and is open to public travel. Municipalities make applications to the conservation district (1 page), typically based upon specific site reviews and discussions. Annually, all applications are reviewed by the Quality Assurance Board (QAB), which is made up of a non-voting chairman appointed by the conservation district, a representative of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a representative of the PA Fish and Boat Commission, and a representative appointed by the conservation district directors. Applications are ranked based upon a set of locally determined criteria, and funded based upon available funds.
What happens after a grant is awarded?
The best part of this program is that it is handled completely at the local level. Once a grant has been awarded, the municipality schedules and completes the improvements based upon the time frame and conditions agreed upon in the contract. The project is management exactly like any other road project the municipality performs. After the job is completed, the municipality is reimbursed for project expenses associated with the grant. That's IT!!!
What expenses are eligible for reimbursement?
The goal of the program is to control the amount of sediment leaving the roadway and entering streams. Since it is a cooperative approach, we try to balance grant funding across the county by maximizing the amount of in-kind donation from the municipality, typically by means of equipment and labor. Any materials necessary for achieving the goal of controlling sediment pollution such as a surface/subsurface drainage improvements, driving surface and ditch stabilization, vegetation management, or equipment related costs (that which the municipality cannot perform) are eligible expenses for reimbursement.
Low Volume Roads
The addition of funding for Low Volume Roads was realized by Act 89 of 2013. The act specifies that “A minimum of $8,000,000 of the total appropriated annually shall be for maintenance and improvement of (paved) low-volume roads.” A low volume road is “sealed or paved with an average daily traffic count of 500 vehicles or less.” The focus for low volume roads maintenance utilizes the same practices as the Dirt & Gravel Roads funding, which is environmentally sensitive road maintenance practices that reduce the impact of road runoff and sediment to local streams, while reducing long term road maintenance costs.
In order for a roadway to be considered for Low Volume Roads funding, it must have an existing paved surface, and it must have a verified traffic count of less than 500 vehicles per day. A paved road is any road surfaced with asphalt, “tar and chip”, “chip seal”, bitumen, concrete, or other asphalt-like coating. The proposed project must apply Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM) practices.
Awarded DGR projects for 20-21:
Canal Township - Boughner Hill Road - $78,029.00
Irwin Township - Byers Road - $25,000.00
Irwin Township - Kerr Road - $21,500.00
Oakland Township - Kane Run Road - $54,821.60
Pinegrove Township - Marsh Hollow Road II - $113,140.00
Victory Township - Fisherman's Cove Road - $155,620.00
Awarded LVR projects for 20-21:
Canal Township - Old Route 322 - $37,629.00
Rouseville Borough - Hiland Avenue II - $24,398.62
VENANGO DGLVR QAB MEETING MINUTES:
Check out our e-newsletter articles from:
VENANGO RURAL ROAD SENSE Ed II
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Center for Dirt & Gravel Roads Study Website:
State Conservation Commission - Low Volume Roads Traffic Count Guidance Information
Extrapolation of Existing PennDOT Data
Venango Dirt Gravel & Low Volume Roads
Forms and Resources
DGLVR Administrative Manual
Venango DGLVR Policies & Procedures
DGLVR Grant Application Forms
DGLVR Grant Application Forms Instructions
DGLVR Off Right of Way Consent Form
Traffic Count Validation Form
Traffic Count Validation Form Instructions
DGLVR Project Completion Form
DGLVR Project Completion Form Instructions
DGLVR Stream Crossing Notification Letter