Crowning a Gravel Road

It doesn't matter if the gravel road was originally built with a perfect crown; it will eventually need to be resurfaced. Snowplows, heavy rain and high traffic will eventually flatten the road. A flat road will allow water to rest on the surface, and will quickly form potholes. The gravel road should be resurfaced to form a crown once a year to prevent potholes and erosion. In areas with large amounts of snow or rainfall, or with roads that are heavily trafficked, the road should be resurfaced twice a year.

Source: https://www.ehow.com


"What happens to a road surface that has a "rounded crown" rather than the recommended "A" shaped crown? In a word, Potholes! Where do they occur? In the middle of the road. Why? Lack of drainage on a very critical area!"

Getting Your Crown in Shape

"Crowning is one of the quickest ways to get water off the driveway, preventing significant erosion of the road surface."

"It is not only about crowning! The video [FHA] suggested that dirt must be removed (or scarified) to the bottom of the pothole. A crowned road allows water to run off, BUT, if dirt is bladed into the hole and not compacted, the first vehicle over that loose material will compact it, leaving a depression—a future pothole. Compacting the surface with a drum roller will not compact any hole that is smaller than the width of the drum (and is therefore useless). The road must always be graded down to the depth of the deepest pothole so that the whole road surface is at the same density. Rolling (compacting) the surface after grading is preferable but is not always feasible."
— Ed Chernosky, Military Grader Operation Instructor


An owner's manual for those who live and travel on dirt and gravel roads—includes a complete troubleshooting guide and quick tips for low cost/no cost things you can do right away to improve your unpaved road or driveway.
Crowned Driveways, Good Gravel, & Rock or Grass
VT Dept of Environmental Conservation

Smoothing and Reshaping the Traveled Way youtube
Federal Highway Administration

Fixing Potholes In a Gravel Road - C'mon, let's ride! youtube

"I'm putting money on it that you know this already. The people that live on this private road may not. They're more happy with a perfectly flat road. No crown. Standing water will eventually create more potholes. You did an outstanding job on the road. No more potholes, leveled and packed. Until they let you go to town on it creating a crown, with pitch to drain water off to the sides, you'll be coming back to do this over again. You did a great job. But you'll have to do that great job again."

Vermont Local Roads Fact Sheet
Vermont Better Backroads Manual
Clean Water You Can Afford
Gravel Roads: Maintenance and Design Manual


The VLR team is dedicated to providing assistance to municipal highway departments and town governments to improve their road networks by providing training, technical assistance, communication tools and information exchange with the mission of fostering a safe, efficient, and environmentally sound surface transportation system by improving the skills and knowledge of the municipal transportation workforce and decision makers. Training is free for municipal employees.


The Bennington County Regional Commission (BCRC) received a grant from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (Ecosystem Restoration Program) to develop a Stormwater Master Plan (SWMP) for the Town of Sandgate.

Municipal Road General Permit (MRGP)

Vermont Municipalities will be required to inventory all of their hydrologically-connected road segments by December 2020 to establish baseline road conditions. The Road Erosion Inventory (REI) results "score" each 100-meter road segment into one of three categories: Fully Meets, Partially Meets, and Does Not Meet MRGP standards. The REI template is based on evaluating whether necessary road BMPs (standards) are in place and assessing erosion levels.

Bringing Vermont's Municipal Roads to a Common Standard for Water Quality