Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Try to curb your enthusiasm

Finishing the gate leads logically into the next project - road improvements, and we might as well start at the new gate and work our way into the property. Here is what we have done, so far:

We have 450 feet of road to build in this first project and have decided to use a ribbon curb system. These 12" wide concrete curbs will line both sides of the road and be filled in with caliche up to within about 1" of the top. The final inch will be filled with whatever material we choose to make the final road bed, asphalt, gravel, crushed granite, etc. We are leaning toward crushed or, as it is more commonly known, decomposed granite. It makes a good, hard, relatively dust free surface, and is a nice color. The distance between the curbs is 13'9" and the curb on the right is set 3" lower than the one on the left to aid in water run off.

As you can see in the photo, the left side is already poured and the right side is formed. One thing that is interesting about this project is that we are using, what I call, caliche concrete. Rather than purchasing sand and gravel to make our mix, we are simply using caliche, which we can dig right out of the hillside with the loader. We then add 12.5%, by weight, Portland cement and enough water to make our concrete. It is finished off just as you would normal concrete. I have never seen concrete made this way before but, it seemed like a good idea. We made some test batches first and were pleased with them. It does not have the strength of regular concrete but, is more than adequate for applications that do not require extreme strength. I would guess it is 75% of the strength of regular five sack mix concrete.

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