June 2019 Vol. 27, No. 2

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New spreadsheet tool helps you manage gravel roads

rural road

A new spreadsheet tool from the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) is designed to help county engineering offices better track and manage gravel roads. It can be used as an inventory tool, providing one location for keeping all maintenance and construction data about a gravel road system. It can also be used to track costs and optimize spending.

The tool, designed by SRF Consulting, is flexible and customizable for a variety of purposes and system sizes. A user guide provides instructions for the gravel road management tool.

There are approximately 142,900 miles of roads in Minnesota, and over half of them are dirt or gravel-surfaced. These roads often have little traffic and service remote areas, so tools for their management and maintenance have been lacking. At the same time, the time and cost to maintain and service these roads is significant. The simple tool is intended to support local agencies in their management of these roads.

gravel road website screenshot

This tab allows the user to select a segment from the "Road Segment Inventory" tab and enter a measured thickness
of gravel and a desired thickness of gravel. Based on the length of the segment and the average maintained width
from the "Road Segment Inventory" tab, a total cubic feet of gravel is calculated. The user can then add the price per
ton of gravel to calculate a total gravel cost.

The spreadsheet includes tabs where users can enter their road segment inventory, maintenance record, desired thickness, and segment evaluation. Other tabs have an evaluation guide and raw GIS data for Minnesota county roads from the 2018 MnDOT Linear Referencing Network.

The developers prepopulated many of the input cell locations, but users may also choose to customize those options very easily.

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