Chevelon Canyon Ranch - Road Conditions Report - 2/9/20
Information Provided by the Roads Crew Chief and the Board Roads Chairperson
ROAD CAMERAS at the JUNCTION OF SR277 & SR377 (Arizona Dept. of Transportation)
Note: The time shown on the cameras is not accurate
This road condition information was reported on the date shown at the top of the page, but weather since that time, especially heavy rain, could have changed the situation. Flooding after a heavy rain can occur in any number of places along our 125 miles of roadways at CCR, despite the many flood-control measures we've put in place. With so many miles of roads, it takes time to identify and report on all hazardous areas, so please be patient with us, check the weather before you leave home, and drive carefully. Our roads are classified by the County as "primitive", as are most other roads in the area, so be advised that you must drive at your own risk. We recommend the use of only full-size, high-road-clearance vehicles (pickups, SUVs, or larger).
Summary of Recent Roadwork: Roadwork has been slow, as it is every winter, due to inclement weather and frozen ground. We have, however, been able to do minor work on several roads as previously reported. The extensive work needed on the Dark Canyon Drive hill at Hutch Rd has been our biggest challenge, complicated by it not having enough time to dry-out between the many rainstorms we've had since the Fall of last year. It's nearly complete, but we can't finish it until it's dry enough to continue working. There's also still work to do to finish our shop on the new roads equipment lot (#147).
More About the Dark Canyon Hill: This is the only significant hill at the Ranch and it's a whooper, extending north from Hutch Rd to the top of Black Canyon, making it very steep and sometimes difficult for some vehicles (it rises more than 50 feet in the first 500 feet of roadway north of Hutch). Black Canyon separates the east and west sides of the Ranch, making Dark Canyon Dr very important in getting from one side to the other. To make matters worse, the hill is loaded with bedrock, which has made it very difficult for us to maintain a driving surface that provides proper traction using conventional applications of fill-materials/toppings. Without a major rebuilding of the road bed, these toppings can't be properly compacted and, thus, erode quickly and/or are quickly displaced by traffic (e.g., tire spinning). As previously reported here, and in our 2019 newsletter, we're now finally doing the long-overdue rebuilding of this roadbed and it's a major effort requiring a lot of time and material. However, it will be well worth the investment since not only will it save us money by not having to haul and spread tons of replacement "fill" nearly as often, but it will also make the roadway safer with a much higher assurance that everyone can make it up the hill with their vehicle.
Next Roads Tagged for Major Work: When we're finished with the Dark Canyon hill, we'll work Rimtop Drive and NW to River Run, then NE to Shadow Trail, which should take approximately 2 weeks for the grader. We'll then backtrack to Mesa View and go NE approximately 2 miles. There will be several repair jobs there. We'll also be working several roads south of Hutch where there are bad mud-holes, which we'll begin as soon as they're dry enough to work. There's a hill off Pumpkin Patch composed of good fill-material that we plan to harvest while doing other repairs, thus eliminating the hill (that's a win-win). Some of that material will be used on Dark Canyon.
Routine & Emergency Fixes: Areas that are hazardous, and those that can be quickly patched, nearly always get priority. i.e., Major, more permanent repair work that requires above-average time to complete will be halted and the crew diverted to do the “quicker fixes” if and when they arise, after which the crew will return to the more permanent work. We must do it this way to allow us to keep as many roads passable as possible without having to spend money to duplicate any of our very expensive heavy equipment, while still being able to slowly make the long-term improvements needed within our traditional annual budget allocation, as explained in the 2019 newsletter and in our previous (September 2019) Roads Report. We can't utilize more than 5 or 6 people on our crew without having the additional heavy equipment they would need to be productive, so adding more workers wouldn't help.
About the Piles of Fill Material Along Some Roadsides: Our apologies to those that have questioned and/or complained about road-fill material being piled along various roadsides for some time. Whenever the weather, or excessive moisture, prevents us from doing productive work on roadways, we may use the downtime to harvest and haul fill-material to locations where it will be needed (AKA "staging"), saving us a lot of time when we're able to work the roads in those areas. As an example, at least 200 tons of good surface material with a lot of 3”-minus river rock has been staged at the top of the Dark Canyon hill for some time, which will be dispersed and packed as soon as weather permits. Staging material along roadways/highways is a standard and necessary practice in road maintenance, including that of DOT and other government agencies. We’ve all seen their material piles and temporary dispensing lots.
Supplementary Work: We have completed fencing of the equipment-and-shop property (lot #147). We have harvested and stacked more than 400 tons of fill-material from our borrow pits (lots 147 & 199). We have moved close to 30 loads of this material to the future repair sites south of Hutch noted above. We also must purchase 500 tons of crushed asphalt since it’s not harvestable (500 tons is our supplier's minimum order quantity), 200 tons of which will be allocated to the hill on Dark Canyon. The balance of the material will be used for other critical areas where material from our own borrow pits will not be sufficient. We have completed repairs on the grader, including the pump injectors and rebuilding the front-end left-side hydraulics. We adjusted the blade shims to tighten the main blade. Due to problems with freezing and breaking valves, we're also in the process of redesigning and reworking the fire-hose equipment on the water truck. We have cleaned the 1000-gallon fuel storage tank and installed a new dispenser nozzle and gauges to be used for red-dye fuel. We will soon be cleaning the 600-gallon tank to be used for highway fuel.
Other Notes: 1) Since the worst of the bad weather is hopefully over, we’ve increased the work schedule for the roads crew to 4 days per week with some at full-time and some at part-time as the budget permits. 2) The roller and the water truck sometimes can’t keep up with the grader, so in these cases the grader will work one full day and then move to an area where we have already pre-stacked material for a repair. 3) Dark Canyon Dr will be re-looked when the weather warms up to assess what additional work may be needed, especially in the upper "flats" area. 4) Please remember that CCR is in an off-grid, mountainous wilderness area of the Colorado Plateau where all roads are primitive and exceptionally difficult and expensive to maintain. We all accepted the compromises that such a remote location would present when we purchased our property, but we did so knowing that the rewards we were seeking more than offset the compromises. Please trust that we on your Board and Roads Team are doing the best we can with what we have to maintain road standards to at least the same level as the County and other land owners in the area. However, no matter how hard we try and how much we're allowed to spend, there will always be a few problematic areas of our roadways — it goes with the territory. Thanks for your patience and understanding. Enjoy the natural beauty of our awesome community!