The Road Commission for Oakland County offers a yearly dust control program.

The Road Commission for Oakland County offers a yearly dust control program.

Photo provided by the Road Commission for Oakland County


Road Commission to help curb dust on gravel roads

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published April 7, 2021

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OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — As we welcome sunshine and warmer weather this spring, those who live near gravel roads know all too well that the change in seasons also brings an increase in dust.

“It gets very unpleasant when there is a constant cloud of dust coming up from the road and you can’t use your front yard,” said Craig Bryson, the spokesman for the Road Commission for Oakland County.

To help combat the dirt and grime, the Road Commission for Oakland County offers a yearly dust control program.

“We do it because the gravel roads can get really dusty in the summer, especially when it’s dry for a lengthy period of time,” Bryson said. “The brine is really good at keeping the dust down and creating a hard driving surface on the gravel road.”

Oakland Township Manager Adam Kline said the township participates in the Road Commission’s blanket dust control program for a fee of approximately $74,000.

The township, he said, has 44 miles of gravel roads that usually require five applications of brine solution per year, depending on weather conditions.

Every spring, Road Commission crews spray mineral-well brine — a naturally occurring saltwater that is pumped from the ground — on the gravel roads of participating municipalities each month. The brine draws moisture from the air and ground, which helps bind the materials in the road surface, reducing the amount of dust that becomes airborne. The process is then repeated every four to six weeks through the fall.

“We have 44 miles of gravel road here in the township, so that’s a lot of dust that could go into people’s homes,” said Kline. “The brine helps keep dust out of people’s homes and improves the roads by acting as a binder for the gravel to keep it all in place.”

The township shares some gravel roads with Rochester and Orion Township, which Kline said also take part in the Road Commission’s dust-control program. The township’s gravel roads are also maintained through a five-year gravel road paving program offered by the Road Commission.

“They take care of the primary roads, so it’s mostly for our local roads. … We do 7 to 8 miles of the local roads every year, and we try to get them resurfaced every five years to keep them in good shape,” Kline said.

Through April 26, any Oakland County resident living on a gravel road can sign up to participate in the Road Commission’s dust-control program — where crews can be hired to spray brine four times throughout the summer and fall on some gravel roads. The cost to participate in the program — which is not available to those on private gravel roads — is 45.2 cents per linear foot of road. Residents living on subdivision streets pay for a minimum of 1,000 linear feet of application — $452 total for four applications.

Before signing up, residents are encouraged to check with their township to see if it already participates in a dust control program — as is the case in Oakland Township.

For more about the Road Commission’s dust control program, call (877) 858-4804, email dcsmail@rcoc.org or visit rcocweb.org.

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