Although the reference I describe here does not deal with mines, I consider the topic and the treatment worthy of reference by the civil and geotechnical engineer and miner charged with constructing and maintaining unpaved access roads to and around mine sites.

I refer to Recommended Practice Manual—A Guideline to Maintenance and Service of Unpaved Roads published by the Choctawatchee, Pea, and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority in February 2000. These places are in Alabama, in an area not much affected by mining. Rather they appear to have many unpaved roads and a continuous need to maintain and service them. The guidance includes extensive descriptions, guidelines, figures, and suggestions for good practice; all of which may be implemented with benefit by the average mine in most areas of the world.

Chapters deal with the road surface, ditches, culverts, outlet structures, bank stabilization, sediment and erosion control tools, aesthetics, and beavers. I quote from the Purpose Statement: “To provide a written manual of standard procedures which describe and illustrate cost-effective techniques and practices which can be used to enhance maintenance and stability of unpaved roads while reducing sedimentation and improving the quality of surface waters.”

The text is readable, the guidance plain and sound, and the details practical. If this is your area of responsibility on a mine, may I recommend that you refer to this manual at the link given above.

A second major document on a related topic is Best Practices for the Design and Construction of Low Volume Roads published by the Department of Transportation Minnesota. Such road have an asphalt cover, but the ideas and procedures may also interest the mining community.