I have a concrete driveway (normal 2 car poured driveway) which is cut vertically (90 degrees) about 2.5 inches above the street.

My father-in-law lives with us and has a powered wheelchair. The driveway is just too high to be smoothly rolled over.

How can I reduce this bump? I imagine something done all the way across the driveway would look nicest, but if there's an idea for just modifying 3 feet across, that's fine too.

I'm in Houston, TX, USA - freezing and snow are not concerns. Not sure about drainage. There are no storm drains cut in on my side of the street. Typically water drains away from my lot, to the east and north (where there are drains). I'm also concerned there's a good reason the driveways are this way - all the houses near me have the same height issue.

  • Would building a small ramp from wood be an option?
    – Niall C.
    Oct 31 '10 at 3:42
  • I built a wheelchair ramp for the house, but I'm not sure how it would work at the curb or driveway. The driveway is cut at the curb line - so any ramp would extend into the street at least a bit. Pretty sure my HOA would be unhappy and we're already on uneasy terms over other accessibility compromises. The ramp would have to be left in place most of the time (I can't run out there and move it around as needed) so anything built on the driveway is also going to get driven on by someone at some point. Not sure how to compromise between sturdy and nonobtrusive with a wood ramp. Oct 31 '10 at 4:26
  • @SteveJackson Did you end up resolving your curb-cut issue? Sep 16 '15 at 16:25
  • @BrownRedHawk - I ended up buying a bag of asphalt and tamping it into a ramp. Worked fine, nobody cared. I did have to keep adding more asphalt to maintain it over time. Sep 17 '15 at 1:22

Contact your local town, and ask them if it is acceptable for you to add some asphalt mix to make a small ramp there, adequate for a wheelchair to roll up. Make sure they understand why you want to do so, that it is necessary for wheelchair accessibility for your father in-law. Then follow their directions. You might even be surprised and find they do it for you if you asked nicely.

Edit: Another possibility - find a contractor who can grind down the curb in one part of the driveway. While this too may require permission, it may be easier to obtain, since no mods would be done to the road surface itself. If you are handy, you could probably do the work yourself, with a small (rental) electric jackhammer.

My approach would be cheaper yet. Cut many parallel kerfs in the curb with a diamond blade in a Skilsaw or an angle grinder. You can buy such a blade for only a few dollars at your local home center. Make these kerfs no more than about 1/2 inch apart, and slope the depth of the kerf so that the cuts are deepest at the street. Now, take a hammer and cold chisel, or an air powered chisel, and break out the material between the kerfs. Done carefully, this will leave you with a nicely sloped curb that a wheelchair can ride up over, and nothing on the road itself to upset the town. You can surely do this in a way that looks as if it were professionally done if you take your time.

Of course, if you do this work yourself, use ear protection for the noise and definitely wear a respirator. That dust is terribly bad for your lungs.

  • This is pretty close to what I was thinking. Now I just need to find a stackexchange site that can answer a question of how to actually get in touch with anyone in the permits office for my county. I'm up to 7 unanswered VMs over three weeks for another issue. Oct 31 '10 at 4:31
  • 2
    Hey, I'm not sure I can help you there. Show up at the next planning meeting.
    – user558
    Oct 31 '10 at 7:03

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