Unpaved Roads in Montgomery County Can Be an Economic Driver, But Also a Problem if Not Maintained

unpaved roads
Image via Jose F. Moreno, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Penn State's Center for Dirt and Gravel Studies examines and implements improvements for the thousands of miles of dirt and gravel roads in the state.

Montgomery County is home to approximately 42 miles of unpaved roads – among the lowest in the state – which can be an economic driver but can also create problems if not properly maintained, writes Jason Nark for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

unpaved roads
Image via The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dirt roads are favorite routes for many bicyclists, with races attracting hundreds of cyclists and thousands of spectators throughout the state.

Many run parallel to the banks of rivers and streams. On a well-maintained road, rainfall disperses across the surface evenly, filtering to additional layers of land before reaching streams.

Once it reaches the creek, it washes away the stone and rock beds used by fish and other aquatic life to breed. This has caused many fishermen to sound the alarm and ask the state for help.

However, so-called “orphaned” roads that are not maintained often sink and end up funneling rainwater that collects sediment, trash, and various pollutants into an erosive torrent.

As a result, Penn State’s Center for Dirt and Gravel Studies was formed in 2001.

Since then, it has provided training and technical assistance for thousands of projects throughout Pennsylvania, including in Montgomery County.

Read more about unpaved roads in Montgomery County in The Philadelphia Inquirer.