The Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC) maintains 771 miles of unpaved roads. Gravel roads require foresight, experience and sufficient funding to maintain. Each season poses unique challenges for maintenance efforts. Most maintenance occurs during the summer and fall. Maintenance efforts last longest when conditions are dry and warm. Frozen roads are too hard and cannot be graded.  In the spring, roads thaw and become saturated with moisture. Aggressive maintenance during the thawing period they can make muddy conditions worse.

Services WCRC provides:

  • Grading, Shaping & Patching
  • Dust Control
  • Gravel/Limestone Resurfacing
  • Drainage Maintenance & Improvements

To report an unpaved road issue, please visit our Report an Issue page to report your issue online.

I called two weeks ago, why hasn't my road been graded? Do you have a schedule of when you will grade roads?

Unpaved road maintenance is weather-dependent, therefore WCRC does not have a firm maintenance schedule. Grading can cause damage when roads are too wet. If the roads are too dry, dust can become a hazard for motorists and neighboring property owners. Typically, WCRC grades a roadway before a scheduled dust control application. Our crews are careful not to over-grade, which can cause unnecessary erosion and bigger maintenance problems in the future.

You always grade my road right before it rains and now it is muddy. Why?

Grading breaks up the road surface and creates dust, so crews typically grade before a scheduled dust control application and/or before a predicted rainfall.  Rain softens the road surface which makes it easier to blade and helps the graded road bind together better than when conditions are dry.

My gravel road is a muddy mess! Can you do something to stop this spring time situation?

We can and do try, but spring poses its challenges. As temperatures warm, what was once frozen turns soft and unstable and will remain this way until the moisture evaporates from the road bed. The best cure is warm, dry temperatures and a good wind. Adding gravel to muddy roads has little effect because the gravel mixes with the mud and creates more mud.

Why do you only fill small spots with gravel or limestone?

Due to the volume of gravel roads in Washtenaw County, the cost of applying gravel/limestone to the all unpaved roads would be very costly. Road professionals recommend that agencies apply new gravel every 8-10 years, if possible. Applying gravel or limestone can cost between $55,000- $65,000 per mile. With 771 miles of gravel roads, it would cost over $50 million to put one gravel application on every mile of unpaved county road.

Why is my unpaved road always the last to be plowed?

WCRC clears snow and ice from the county’s roads based on a priority system. Crews will clear highways and paved roads before moving onto gravel and subdivision roads. To learn more about our winter maintenance, view our FAQ.

On unpaved roads, crews plow snow and apply sand to provide traction for motorists. Salt is not applied to frozen gravel roads because it would thaw the road surface, making the road more susceptible to damage and material loss.

Why don’t you pave more unpaved roads?

A lack of funding prevents WCRC from paving roads. Planners say that gravel road should be paved when traffic exceeds 500 cars per day. WCRC does not have the revenue to pave many of the county’s gravel roads, as it costs approximately $1 million per mile. Until funding levels increase, pothole patching, winter maintenance and safety improvements on high-volume paved roads will remain a priority over paving unpaved roads.