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Thread: The roadway maintenance thread

  1. #1

    Default The roadway maintenance thread

    Lately there have been discussions in another thread about roadway maintenance methods for things like snow removal, recycling pavements and other things. It was a thread about using lighting tools in light pollution (or not) while performing a job called Night Shift.

    I figure this one can incorparate ideas and principles of a variety of subjects in a platform meant for the variety of thoughts and ideas.

    I'll begin with placing the stripes on a busy roadway. In a duty this evening a contractor will be placing super heated plastic onto a new asphalt that will be arrows in turn lanes. The plastic will be all white in color. But at times roadways get yellow stripes too. That color is meant to divide the directions of traffic. In the US the yellow stripe(s) on the drivers left mean stay to the right of the line or face oncoming vehicles. It's pretty basic really. However the products used need to with stand heat, cold, scraping by snow plows, repeated wheels driving over it, and last for decades. They have thousands of tiny glass spheres per foot in length within the striping material to cause light to reflect back to the driver at night. Often the line itself holds up just dandy, but the tiny glass spheres disappear over time leaving the stripe (called marking in the industry) looking dull at night, or worse non existent when it rains at night.

    A lot goes into placing the stripes, or removing stripes for whatever reason and adding new. Sometimes water based paint is used. Sometimes alkalids, sometimes liquid plastic. Sometimes super tape is used. The federal government decided what product goes where a long time ago. In my state they often pick up 90% of the cost so if they say use paint, paint is used. But they use my state and others like Texas, PA and Ohio to test new ideas. In the 1990's for example they wanted to try out non petroleum based paints and use water based instead. It's now a nation wide thing but at some point it had to be tried out and eventually developed into something that lasted as long as the petroleum based paint(s). Yellow was the hardest to perfect. White was easy, but the yellow either faded or turned orange making it harder to see after dark.

    Anyway, bring on the topics. Why do potholes happen? Why does an asphalt road ride smoother than concrete? What do they use to remove snow? Who picked the colors of roadway signs?
    Lets talk about it.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 09-16-2020 at 06:28 PM.
    John 3:16

  2. #2

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    i no longer drive im walking everywhere . it sucks becuase we dont have side walks there damn holes all over tge grass is over 3 feet tall. and good ole boys in the four by fours love to yell all kind of fun stuff at me. i have no idea how i need to pay such high property taxes for nothing that benefits me . ok rant off lol
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    bykfixer, this is OT, already OT, but maybe we could say... decently constructed roads are essential, because bad roads will inevitably cause catastrophic failures. But it is not that, it is just a little levity. Mods, look this over, plz.

    Maybe not so OT

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    I'd also like to bring up a topic there about kinder gentler cleaning products being used to keep giant Tonka toys free of build up from grimes, dirt, concrete and petroleum such as tar.

    Last edited by chillinn; 09-16-2020 at 07:04 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    My Fav.. Chip Seal!!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    For road tar removal I have tried a few green products made from citrus. None work fast as denatured alcohol. A little dab onto old tshirt goes a long way.. and I don't think will deplete our ozone..
    Last edited by knucklegary; 09-19-2020 at 12:29 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    Fish emulsion for joining new and old pavement and new to new pavement is a dandy smelling product. It's the sticky stuff you see the spray trucks dispensing before the spreader box does it's thing laying the new asphalt. It was fun working on the spreader box (a Barber-Green in my case) under the deck level when they broke a chain or other failure in the middle of a laying run. Hot and smelly!
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    How long after new asphalt is laid can the striping be placed?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    There's a section of state highway near my residence that's been under construction about 10 of the 12 years I've lived here. First there was the arduous task of transforming it from a divided road into a limited-access highway. Then there were a series of afterthought projects that lingered. Then there was the process to add 1-2 lanes in each direction since 2 lanes each way were basically at capacity as soon as it opened. Now they're expanding it again - surely to feature mid-highway toll lanes - and replacing some bridges dating back 30+ years, which is sure to take another 4+ years. I'd rather pay more taxes on the backend than toll lanes, myself - which in the DFW region have a nasty tendency to be absurdly priced and operated as a sketchy public-private partnership.

    Or another highway through town that I'm confident has had some sort of construction within city limits the entire time I've lived here; I've spotted at least one T-shirt in the area that states I want a relationship that lasts as long as construction on I-35.

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    Why does an asphalt road ride smoother than concrete?
    Presumably because it's less rigid and shifts with the underlying soil while concrete has that steady rhythm of expansion joints.

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    What do they use to remove snow?
    As a resident of the sunbelt I can answer with some confidence the sun does, usually just enough hours later that school is cancelled.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  9. #9
    KITROBASKIN's Avatar
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    Our parking lot was recently resurfaced. The project was delayed because the contractor forgot to place some kind of mesh in the subsurface that supposedly prevents buckling of the asphalt. Are you aware of this product? From a distance it looked like black plastic, with 3 inch openings like temporary red mesh fencing. How can that prevent asphalt cracking and upheaval?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    "Alligatored" (texture of an Alligators back) Asphalt will always show through a new Asphalt cap in short order. 35 or so years ago, Petromat was placed over alligatored asphalt prior to placing a new 2" cap thereby alleviating the need to R&R the alligatored pavement. In small trials, it worked for us but I don't know how long it lasted. It came in very large rolls 8 or 10' wide and looked like Black Pellon, the stiff, fibrous material used in making shirt collars stiff.

    A quick Google shows it's still out there and being used. From their site:

    Petromat is used to extend the life of all paved areas, including highways, parking areas and airport pavements. It is a nonwoven fabric that is field saturated with an asphalt cement tack coat to create a continuous moisture barrier and stress absorbing interlayer in new or rehabilitated pavements. Petromat extends the life of new asphalt pavements and overlays by acting as a barrier to prevent water infiltration from the road surface into the base course. It also performs as a stress-absorber to reduce reflective and fatigue cracking.
    Last edited by BVH; 09-18-2020 at 10:32 AM.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    Kitro, what you are refering to is called a geo grid. There are various brands but basically it is a polyester material that acts as a bridge between a soft underlying surface like dirt or gravel (or both). When a live load is applied such as the wheel of a car onto an unre-enforced pavement the weight of each wheel pushes straight down. So the load is like a cookie cutter running over the pavement. The geo grid stretches when load is applied acting similar to Chinese handcuffs. That locking action like action causes the weight of the load to be distributed sideways as well as down so pavement is not overly stressed.

    BVH, when I was a maintenance worker in the 1980's the boss got some petromat samples from Chevron. He wanted to try it for crack control. It was similar to roofing paper with a bunch of strands of fiberglass in it. Only it was sticky like tar and about 1/8" (a few mm) thick. So one night I was dispatched to place the stuff over existing cracks on our main street through town and cone off that lane. Next day there was pavers arriving to pave that road. It was also the first time we tried reflective cones. He had gotten some free samples of cone reflectors too.

    We did not make any reference points of where the petromat was used, only it was used near "the Pilot" gas station. So the pavers did their thing, but later on down the road of time we were widening that road. We hired a milling contractor to remove the top layer for a mile and when they started exposing strips of fiberglass re-enforced tar paper the boss says "so that's where you put that petromat". He had forgotten where it was used at because there were no cracks in the pavement.

    This summer I did an assignment where the contractor covered the whole road with a petromat. It had another brand name "Glass Pak" and we used a "50" version. It went over a pavement that had the top surface removed just prior. They sprayed tar then rolled out the fiberglass mat on a big roll with a tractor and either scooted out the wrinkles or cut with a razor knife and glued the overlap down. All that was just ahead of a paver operation. It was a trial project to see how it holds up versus total rebuild of the pavement that was done in other parts of the project. The existing road was (as BVH said) "alligator cracking" but only in the wheel paths so the highway dept called that "map cracking".

    Alligator cracking is a sign of pavement failure and often times can be felt as a soft spot as you drive over it. Map cracking indicates pavement fatigue which means it has flexed too many times and cracked yet still remains somewhat stable. Places on the project we used petromat on were fatigued cracked. Anywhere that was alligator cracked was rebuilt.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 09-18-2020 at 12:09 PM.
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    I live on a 2-lane, 40mph backroad. We have two quarries in the area. There is a steady flow of tri-axle dump trucks, loaded and empty, in the area. Our poor road wasn't built for this kind of weight, particularly in the corners and over spots where there are drainage pipes that cross under the road. Repairs are frequent, half-assed, and usually in the same spots. It almost seems doing it once, right, would be more cost effective in the long run...
    Last edited by scout24; 09-19-2020 at 07:11 AM.
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    There's usually money in the maintenance and repair accounts for repair after repair but no money in the Capital Expenditure budget for a full blown rebuild "project".
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  14. #14

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    Scout, that is the conditions of the road I was speaking of in the night shift thread. The one the human light bulb was drilling cores of.

    The project I spoke of earlier in this thread was deemed a "safety corridor" due to an Amazon warehouse opening nearby and 100 year old oak trees lines the edges of 9 foot lanes. The feds have a program called "SMART" that is basically part lottery and part essay to get funds for the projects. If the essay is picked as a winner it goes into the lottery. The project essay presented by the local county was entered into a lottery and was picked a few years back. Feds put up 80% and the state the other 20. However the state did not have the 20% so the County coughed it up and the state has agreed to reimburse the County half of that once it is completed.

    In my state the asphalt paving plants have the worst roads. One would think they'd have the best. But as you probably know often times mechanics drive the junkiest cars too. lol
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    +

    Road crews do a very good job at snow removal in my area,, it's one thing our county crews take very seriously.
    When there is a huge snow, one w/ large water content, they bring out some interesting stuff to move snow, not just plows.

    side note:: pretreating the roads has become an important tool preventative maintenance for minimizing ice formation.
    waste cheese brine from cheese production is now mixed the standard brine solution for pretreating the roads ===== really.

  16. #16

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread





    Very good friend of mine, salutatorian of my class, freshman roommate, mechanical engineer, truck driver, farmer, got into this scary looking accident early morning late June, not foggy, misty, not sure if it rained, road probably wet. I just happened to call him out of the blue within minutes of the accident, he was in shock. On-coming pickup with trailer lost control, friend slammed on breaks, collision at maybe 10-15mph, stopped, but grain truck trailer went off the shoulder during skid, and just, a few feet. Grain truck lays down. No one badly injured. Pickup driver got a ticket. Farm cleaned up the grain. No way around farm using this route.

    Appears to be a bike path just beyond the road, pretty sure I know where this is, bykfixer may also (its right in your back yard, over the river and through the woods, but we'll leave out the details to protect the innocent). This is a 2 lane highway, very old, I believe colonial old, and a major route, and likely to remain that way, because there's plenty of redundancy with parallel interstate. Local traffic must deal. Great road to travel when there's no traffic, and traffic is usually light.

    Why is the road built so high (prevent flooding I imagine), without a paved shoulder, and such a steep shoulder without a guard rail?

    Is there anything wrong with this road? I ask, because I don't know.
    Last edited by chillinn; 09-22-2020 at 09:48 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    Yup, if it's where I think it is it's a colonial road going through a big ole wet area called the dismal swamp. Hence why it is so high above the shoulders. Rte. 5 was a wagon trail and played a big role in the Colonials defeating the British during the Revolutionary war. On the south side is the mighty James river but ironically during the ice age melt long earthen berms formed causing millions of acres to be lower than the banks of the James for a few dozen miles. So it is where a lot of rain water from the Chickohomanny river is stored, never reaching the James.

    The bike path was the brain child of a former governor (now US Senator) who envisioned riding his touring bike from the current capital city (Richmond) to the former capital city (Williamsburg). It's a favorite road for many long distance bike racing enthusiasts who largely avoid the multi million dollar bike path in favor of the roadway itself. It's not unusual to be stuck behind 50-100 men in spandex riding along the shoulder at 12 mph while travelling from Hopewell to say, Charles City. It's a pretty busy road with a lot of twists so by the time you are in a straight area long enough to pass 50-100 bicyclists there is oncoming traffic.

    Ironically I will be working on that road tonight. Heavy loads using that road fatigue the pavement on the passenger wheel side so we will be plucking out a groove on that side of the road and filling with fresh asphalt before covering the road with another 2 inches of asphalt for a couple of miles. Working in the road at night allows more time to perform the work versus beginning at 9am and having to stop at 3pm.

    Thomas Jefferson actually tried to drain the great dismal swamp but soon realized it was just not practical. That part of the road is part of an area subject to strict regulations so the highway department is not allowed to just import millions of truck loads of dirt and gravel to widen the road without a huge burden of replacing the "wetlands" that would no longer exist. So instead they are widening nearby I-64 mainly using a once very wide median area. Rte.5 is mostly a cut through for local traffic these days and it is kinda nice to take out the garage queen automobile for a jaunt through the country side while imagining Ben Franklin and John Tyler in a horse drawn carriage debating the original ideas now known as the Constitution of the United States.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 09-22-2020 at 02:48 PM.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    Bingo! I never doubted you would recognize it. Could not be more than 30mi from wherever you live.

    That road is dead at night. Once I was on my way back east from the farm after midnight, saw this flashing red ahead... could not focus on it. You know how there are straight stretches there you can see 5 miles ahead. It seemed like it was a stopped fire marshal or something, but also felt like I wasn't getting closer. Then suddenly I was right on top of it, slammed on the breaks... almost killed a guy. It was ... idk what it is called... a lay down covered aerodynamic bicycle, dude inside the thing must have been doing 40mph. He was taking advantage of no traffic at 1AM. Who ever came up with the idea of a blinking red light on the back of a bicycle was a moron. I thought it was an emergency vehicle much, much further away. A solid red light would be safer.

    Thanks for the explanation. Can't mess with wetlands. I heard of a guy in Florida that had property that was savannah that he actually turned into wetland to prevent development. Years later, when he wanted to develop it, he could not. It had to stay wetland by the law. Apparently only the Army Corp of Engineers can do stuff with wetlands, whatever big projects state and federal government approve.

    Thanks for the history, too. I had heard about George Washington and the Great Dismal Swamp, a canal he was building, failed project, just kept going at it... and I guessed that was in NC. I did not know about Jefferson doing stuff in the Swamp. I knew that road was old, but all of that you told is edifying.
    Last edited by chillinn; 09-22-2020 at 04:45 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    Yup, after sundown the road is pretty isolated. I cannot imagine riding a bicycle after dark on that road, much less a recumbant. That guys was suicidal.

    I had forgotten about all of the city sized farms along that road. Some going back to plantation days. One thing I thought was cool about where I was working on it today was a "seed" farm. If you want non engineered food seeds there is a farm for that somewhere between Williamsburg and Richmond. Won't say where exactly but it's nice to know where seed for corn, tomatoes and other foods can be found.



    Another cool thing happened when I went to go for a cup of coffee. I knew about 20 miles away was a truck stop so I set out to go get some coffee or Mt Dew to ward off the 2am drowsies. About half way there I saw a small store with soda machines. There was a real nice BMW setting at the gas pump as I went whizzing by. Making it to a turn I started down another road unsure if that was the right way to the truck stop, the OCD voice said "bird in the hand or two in the bush?" meaning I know where I can get a Mt Dew a couple miles back. So I turned around.

    The nice car was still sitting there as I reached in my pocket and realized I had left my cash at home. So while plopping in quarters from my truck the car turns around and the driver says "looking for caffiene?" I said "why yes I am". I suppose the yellow safety apparel showed I was at work. So I pushed the Mt Dew button and out plops a cold can of soda. The driver says "I have a Pepsi you can have too". Regretably I don't keep up with pro sports but I think it was one of the Baltimore Orioles players. Whoever it was that was a pretty cool gesture.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 09-22-2020 at 10:34 PM.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    That's my friend's farm. I think he is 3rd or 4th generation on that land. Beautiful land, James River waterfront stretching out to the highway. Father gave it to 3 sons. His oldest brother, agronomist, has the world record for most bushels of corn per acre like 3 years running, keeps breaking his own record. Something like 350 bushels per acre. Edit: looked it up, way off... 616.195-bushel-per-acre. Famous among farmers. My friend does the office business, farm labor, fixes everything, drives combines, and trucks out the seed.

    Great place for flashlighting. I could arrange a meet, he goes to bed early, farmers hours, but he wouldn't mind. Oh, wait, I forgot about Mom. LOL I can't leave her alone. It'll have to be at my place someday. Just as dark, not as wide, but there is the Severn River next door... that is a good stretch of flat.
    Last edited by chillinn; 09-22-2020 at 10:27 PM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    Chillin,

    Looks like wonderful area to live!
    Do you ever search for historical artifacts using a metal detector?

    I live near historical Sutters Fort, and even closer, it's only 30mins to Sutters Mill, Coloma CA.. Yes,, there's gold in dem dar hills!

    Offroad and/or All Wheel drive is a must around my neck of the woods.. Most all roads are chip sealed annually. I hate the stuff it's messy crap for your vehicles under carriage and wheels.. Road crews use a crushed serpentine rock (road base) from a nearby quarry. Street sweepers make many passes to clean up the excess rock but it takes a few months of vehicles traffic for the mess to settle down and stop flying into wheel wells and drivers on my six

    Hey, I'd come visit if I lived closer and bring some toys!

  22. #22

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    Quote Originally Posted by knucklegary View Post
    Chillin,

    Looks like wonderful area to live!
    Do you ever search for historical artifacts using a metal detector?
    No, but I think about all the stuff that must be there unfound all the time. You can kind of tell when there is a man made fortification, even though there's 200yo trees growing out of it, just looks like a long mound.

    Quote Originally Posted by knucklegary View Post
    I live near historical Sutters Fort, and even closer, it's only 30mins to Sutters Mill, Coloma CA.. Yes,, there's gold in dem dar hills!
    Well, if I lived there I'd have a metal detector. I wonder how much gold is left.

    Quote Originally Posted by knucklegary View Post
    Offroad and/or All Wheel drive is a must around my neck of the woods.. Most all roads are chip sealed annually. I hate the stuff it's messy crap for your vehicles under carriage and wheels.. Road crews use a crushed serpentine rock (road base) from a nearby quarry. Street sweepers make many passes to clean up the excess rock but it takes a few months of vehicles traffic for the mess to settle down and stop flying into wheel wells and drivers on my six
    I like that people off road and have fun, but it sort of bothers me how many 4WD vehicles are on the road, especially in urban areas, like along the coast in SoCal. I guess they need them for that rough LA terrain.

    Quote Originally Posted by knucklegary View Post
    Hey, I'd come visit if I lived closer and bring some toys!
    The UK group is getting together, sounds like they planned well, good food and flashlight places. This pandemic needs to end, and then we need to have a huge meet somewhere that most can get to that is interesting and dark. How about Santa Fe? Or maybe Big Bend... really really dark at night there.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    The only way to get to the gold is panning, panning, and more panning. If you're lucky that will get ya about thirty bucks worth for a hard days work
    Big Bend, CA is a great spot to visit, I've been there many times. Not to mention Bend, OR lava beds. There you'll find caves, lava tubes, that will make your bung hole pucker when the cheap import headlamp takes a dump and you're backup flashlight, a Streamlight aaa, dang it ● !! got left it in my shorts

    ... live and learn (:

  24. #24
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    Btw, lava beds provide excellent road base. My last visit was more than a few years ago. A large section of US 101 was freshly repaved and it was smoooth, like riding on a carpet

  25. #25

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    That's pretty cool about the cheese waste being used as a bond breaker pre-treatment Orbital. It sounds like it would make a great bond breaker and then just go back to being part of the environment.

    Pavers began using liquid chicken fat to keep asphalt from sticking to truck beds for a while. Now many use Citrosol for the same thing.
    John 3:16

  26. #26
    *Flashaholic* Chauncey Gardiner's Avatar
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    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    Quote Originally Posted by knucklegary View Post
    The only way to get to the gold is panning, panning, and more panning. If you're lucky that will get ya about thirty bucks worth for a hard days work
    Big Bend, CA is a great spot to visit, I've been there many times. Not to mention Bend, OR lava beds. There you'll find caves, lava tubes, that will make your bung hole pucker when the cheap import headlamp takes a dump and you're backup flashlight, a Streamlight aaa, dang it ● !! got left it in my shorts

    ... live and learn (:
    Time to turn in your Flashaholic badge.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    Quote Originally Posted by knucklegary View Post
    Btw, lava beds provide excellent road base. My last visit was more than a few years ago. A large section of US 101 was freshly repaved and it was smoooth, like riding on a carpet
    The computer controlled pavers are amazing.

    Where my sister lives the chip seal is tar and sea shells. Slippery when wet but really cool to look at while walking Fido and FeeFee. (in good weather of course)
    John 3:16

  28. #28

    Default Re: The roadway maintenance thread

    On my way in and out, there is an interesting gulch and turn that somehow scares any passenger into thinking they'll hit the tree. I have not experienced it myself, and there is no such anything from the driver's seat. I am standing in the gulch, at the corner the passenger will complain, to take that second picture.




    Forgot I also shot a video of the same location. It doesn't really show anything, and but I find it hilarious. The car that passes is my neighbor who works part of a graveyard shift somewhere, don't know him too well, but i have a lot of sympathy having worked 11PM-7:30AM before at a data center alone. I suspect he is a nurse, but who knows? Anyway, this is 4:30AM yesterday morning. I think I was attempting to show how long and deep the gulch is between the road and the yard. I suppose if I was serious, I would have done this during the day. Video is 38 seconds long, and shows a lot less than I had hoped. My camera simply doesn't detect brightnesses as well as dark adapted human eyes.



    Terrible. I am not sure why I find this thing so fascinating. I guess I have never seen anything like it before I moved in. It is between 3-4ft deep, and at the top 4-5ft wide. It stretches from where I stood about 40 yards to the corner, and around the corner for another 40 yards or so, and from the corner there is a similarly sized gulch across the street, they parallel each other until they just end. One would assume they are for drainage, but no matter how much rain we get, even when the street floods near there, I have never seen any water in these gulches. Maybe that means they do their job. The neighbor with the gulch across the street uses hers to burn her leaves, which is in fact illegal, using the gulch to do that, but no one is going to complain.

    When I have the chance, I'll get some daytime photos and edit in here, just so it is more obvious what I am trying to show. I am disappointed I was unable to show much with my flashlight. I need a better camera and some brighter lights.
    Last edited by night.hoodie; 09-25-2020 at 07:50 PM.

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