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Title:Gravel Shortage Options
Authors:Jill Hough, Ayman Smadi, and Lance Schulz
University:North Dakota State University
Publication Date:Dec 1996
Report #:MPC-96-65
Project #:MPC-104
TRID #:00737047
Keywords:alternatives analysis, benefit cost analysis, economic analysis, gravel, gravel pits, legal factors, life cycle analysis, life cycle costing, maintenance, maintenance management, pavements, political factors, shortages, traffic volume
Type:Research Report – MPC Publications


Some North Dakota counties are facing a shortage in quality gravel. Other counties may experience the same problem in the near future. Gravel pits in the state are scarce and counties consume substantial amounts of gravel for a large portion of their roads. Obtaining gravel from distant sources leaves counties with considerable transportation and additional maintenance costs to repair damage caused by trucks hauling gravel. There are several alternatives to overcoming gravel shortages and increased cost for hauling gravel, including the following: paving roads with higher traffic volumes, closing roads with little or no traffic, or assigning minimum maintenance status to roads with minimal or seasonal traffic. The selection of an appropriate alternative should be based on appropriate legal, political, and economic analyses. Legal factors arise when closing roads or reducing the level of maintenance to a minimum. Political factors arise because elected officials have to consider how the public views the alternatives. Elected officials also have to be concerned about re-election and may be swayed by public opinion rather than long-term economic impacts. Economic factors will ultimately determine which alternative is more cost effective. A life-cycle cost analysis is used in this study to weigh the benefits and costs of alternative strategies over the life of the structures. In particular, Cass County participated in a case study analysis to illustrate a life-cycle cost analysis between graveling or paving specific road segments with different traffic levels.

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050