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Thursday, April 09, 2015

I'm writing this tonight because a reader asked what I meant by the term, "washboard" when referring to our road.  I'll explain as best I can.  

Washboard is a rippling, or sort of corrugation across dirt or gravel roads.   It's like the old corduroy roads made from laying logs crosswise, only instead of wood, it's ridges of dirt or gravel.  Those old roads wore down and rotted and the logs had to be frequently replaced, but gravel roads such as West Shore Road, can be easily repaired by honing that scrapes off the high spots and fills hollows back to a smooth surface.  If not honed, time and traffic will only make the ripples deeper and the road rougher.  It only takes a few vehicles going too fast over a dirt road to get the washboard effect started.  The grooves deepen with every vehicle that passes over and when it rains, they fill with water and that erodes the gravel even more and soon the road is a jarring mass of puddles and potholes, which is what we now have at the beginning of West Shore Road.  

When you travel back roads, I'm sure you've found some that were rough and may have even made it hard to keep your car on the road if you were going at a good clip. That was likely washboard.  When you go into a stretch of washboard at a high rate of speed your tires actually begin to bounce off the high spots and you'll likely lose control and end up in the ditch.   Washboard is Mother Nature's speed bumps.

Tomorrow I'll call Danville road crew and let them know how bad that short stretch of road is.  I'm sure they are dealing with mud and ruts on roads all over town and that short piece of road doesn't get on their priority list unless someone complains.

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