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Originally published: 2013-05-07 14:16:31
Last modified: 2013-05-07 14:17:24

Heavy rains prompt driveway damage questions

by Anna Oakes

The Watauga County Soil and Water Conservation District office says this winter and spring's heavy rains have prompted multiple queries about driveway damage.

Brian Chatham, conservation technician for the district, said the Soil and Water office can provide technical assistance and advice about driveway maintenance and repairs. But the office cannot provide financial assistance for damaged driveways, as many have requested, he said.

Chatham said it's important to engage in preventative measures throughout the year to preserve driveways.

"You have to pay attention to ditch lines and culverts," he said. Property owners must take time to clean up branches, leaves and other debris to prevent ditches and culverts from clogging and thus impeding the intended flow of water.

"Any time water builds pressure, bad things happen," said Chatham.

A poor grading job or ruts in the driveway can also prevent rainwater from properly draining to ditches.

Chatham said his office recently visited one area driveway that had experienced about $5,000 worth of damage.

"It can be fairly costly," he said. "An ounce of prevention goes a long way."

The Soil and Water office can provide property owners with a copy of "The Layman's Guide to Private Access Road Construction in the Southern Appalachian Mountains." The publication includes instruction on design, road layout, construction, vegetation and maintenance of private roads.

In addition, Soil and Water staff can make visits to sites and assist property owners in working with contractors.

For more information, call (828) 264-0842, stop by the Soil and Water office at 971 W. King St. in Boone or email Chatham at (