I have a gravel road with a number of hills but one is long and steep. Generally this guy is close to un-drivable within 6 months. I do not have the money to asphalt this hill, nor can I fix this twice a year. That leaves all kinds of folks refusing to come up over the last 6 months.

Would it be possible to cut a "V" down each tire track, maybe 10 or 12" deep. At that point put a small amount of gravel down at the bottom of the V and then heat and pour some tar over it and quickly throw some more gravel on top and continue doing this until the V is full? Maybe put a few pieces of rebar in side to side to keep it from sliding down the hill?

Thank you Doug

  • Does the driveway have a solid foundation, or where does the old gravel go? Does it just wash away in storms?
    – cutrightjm
    May 24, 2018 at 2:40
  • Have 3 kids with friends in the house, from what I see...someone spins a tire on a wet day and the ditch begins. This has only been graveled, nothing else. In western NC but everything seems like Georgia Clay to me.
    – DJ Sieg
    May 24, 2018 at 2:44
  • Tar is not asphalt in case that is what you are thinking. Asphalt is a mixture of asphaltenes, resins, and oils ( no tar). May 24, 2018 at 14:32
  • What size stone are you using? # 57 is too large to ever compact and stabilize
    – Kris
    May 24, 2018 at 14:54
  • diy.stackexchange.com/questions/112921/…. Related.
    – Kris
    May 24, 2018 at 14:57

3 Answers 3


The work to create the V-grooves that you propose seem like it could be labor intensive and still demand a lot of materials that make it expensive. And when it gets driven on in a way that the wheels of vehicles veer off the sides it will still tear up the remaining dirt and the edges of your special formation.

The best wisdom of how to deal with the problem is going to come from experts that deal with this situation in your local area. They will understand the soil, terrain and local methods to build effective driveways. So I would really suggest asking around and get that expert advice.


Intriguing, but I’ve never heard of such an installation.

It sounds like the problem is due to ice during 6 months of the year, because the steepness isn’t a problem the other 6 months. If so, you need heat tape installed on the hills so you can turn it on and melt the ice when it gets cold.

If the problem is due to traction, I’d install grooves in a “V” shape that diverts water, mud, etc. off to the side of the road surface. The grooves would create some gripping for the tires too.

  • Most of the bad driveways in the area you will see asphalt road 1/2 way up. As soon as it gets a little less steep it's back to gravel. Water for the most part runs down the side...the place it goes across it is at the top where it goes over the edge. Rock and dirt on 1 side, 15' drop off on the other. One lane driveway.
    – DJ Sieg
    May 24, 2018 at 2:54
  • @DJSieg So it’s not frost. Hmmm...is the problem loose gravel??
    – Lee Sam
    May 24, 2018 at 3:41
  • I would say that the big problem is front wheel drive. Today its dry and you come up by yourself with no problems. The next day it rains and you have groceries in the back set....those wheels are going to spin in a couple of places. And unfortunately we have had 1 guy almost go off the 15 foot drop and another that jacked his rear end up in the air on the rocks. Came home a month ago as the tow truch had just got UPS out from some where on the driveway.
    – DJ Sieg
    May 24, 2018 at 4:01
  • Meaning that no one wants to back down the drive. Lots of extra wheel spin so as to not have to back up
    – DJ Sieg
    May 24, 2018 at 4:13
  • Yes, the gravel is loose....ran up and down a 1/2 dozen times and it seems much better. But then again I believe its the 7th or 8th day in a row of rain.
    – DJ Sieg
    May 24, 2018 at 4:22

Here is the best way to get a long term fix on a shale or crushed quarry drive. First add 3/4 minus to the trenches and use a plate compactor (hard work on a steep grade) or rent a roller, pack it then I use a grass seed spreader with Portland cement. After that I broom it into the nooks and crannies, if it looks well filled I mist it with a hose and then repeat the next day if I think it needs it, I don't think you can do two much but my last home had a very steep driveway I installed dropping 20' in 50 or so feet, I did this in 2000 my daughter lives there now and it is still holding up but could use some work after all these years, I think I used 4 or 5 bags but this included a section that was not as steep.

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