The Venango Conservation District administers the Dirt Gravel and Low Volume Road Program in Venango County. The program provides funding to municipalities to install Best Management Practices (BMPs) that reduce pollution coming from rural roadways in the county.
Daylighting is a practice that is a part of a vegetation management plan for road maintenance. Good management of vegetation at roadways can reduce erosion and can save on future maintenance costs. Daylighting is the process of cutting back trees so the road is exposed to more light. By utilizing a daylighting practice on rural roadways a municipality may increase sunlight to the roadway, increase visibility for drivers, dry out soggy road surfaces and reduce annual trimming needs.
The Dirt Gravel and Low Volume Road Program’s primary focus is to reduce sediment pollution caused by rural road ways to local water bodies. To achieve that, a road needs to have adequate drainage where water has an opportunity to exit the roadway and to filter out before it reaches the water body as runoff. Daylighting can improve drainage function. By cutting back vegetation, the chances of leaves and debris clogging cross pipes and ditch lines can be reduced.
Soggy roadways can more easily erode if they never dry out and compact. By cutting vegetation back, sunlight can more easily reach the road bed, helping to dry out areas that tend to retain water. This practice reduces erosive soil that can pollute local waterways through runoff.
Daylighting is also a practice that can increase safety on a rural roadway. Cutting vegetation back can increase line of site for drivers. This practice also reduces the opportunity for vegetation to block road signs and to cause damage utility lines and guard rails.
The Venango Conservation District recently awarded funding to Irwin Township to perform daylighting practices on their Kerr Road and Byers Road. These roads are both dirt and gravel surface roads. The road surfaces tended to stay moist throughout the year, promoting erosion of the road surface.
The Venango Dirt and Gravel Roads program, administered by the Venango Conservation District, provides education and funding to municipalities to improve dirt and gravel roads in the county. Trout Unlimited found that sediment from dirt roads can be a major contributor of pollution to streams in Pennsylvania. As a result the Commonwealth allocates millions of dollars statewide annually to conservation districts for its Dirt and Gravel Roads program.
Thanks to Ashley Hazlett, the Venango Conservation District Dirt Gravel and Low Volume Roads Technician, this blog entry will showcase a Dirt and Gravel Roads program project in Victory Township. The Dennison Run Road project spans across 400 feet of a hilly dirt road. The section in question was consistently having drainage issues and was losing road surface during storm events.
The funding requested for this project was $13.500.00. This funding helped provide for the addition of three new cross pipes. Ditches and banks were also stabilized and road fill was added to maintain a proper crown and a safe driving surface. The estimated value of the project is $18,913.00.
Victory Township anticipates submitting an application for further Dirt & Gravel Roads program funding to continue drainage and road surface improvements to the upper hill area of the road.