Back in April of this year we lost a big chunk of our driveway between the gate and the street. We could still get in and out by winding our way carefully between the mailbox and the cliff edge of the wash out. We had had a huge amount of rain and this was the first rain related damage we've had in the 11 years we've lived here. The storms had washed out two country roads northwest of us that usually carried a huge amount of traffic along with phones over a wide area. The county crews were dealing with all of that, but they also came out to help us with the driveway. There were wonderful. They arrived with a dump truck full of cobbles, a tractor with a bucket and several wonderful guys with shovels and brooms. Communications had been difficult that week. Phones were intermittent and we weren't sure our call for help had been heard until the day before the crew arrived. We were thrilled.
When the country crew finished with it, the driveway was strong and totally functional. A top dressing of fine gravel is all it needed to look good as new. Then, several weeks ago I got a call from Keith Neuendorff. Keith has helped us out over the years. He lives a couple of miles down the road from us. He brought his big new tractor over a couple of times and mowed our property before we got our first tractor. He helped us pull our mule out of the mud once. I had buried it up to the axles before I realized how wet the ground was. Keith's day job is working for the county. He called to say the road crew had been down our road patching the asphalt and noticed that our culvert was in really bad shape. Keith said the rusted out bottom had probably caused the disrupted flow that washed out our driveway back in April. They thought we needed a new culvert.
I don't know if this is common practice in all counties, but here in Colorado County the county road crews will install a culvert for free but we need to buy the culvert. OK. The culvert was ordered and we were told to expect it by the end of August. Cool! The county guys will even pick it up for us and get it over to our house - no mean feat when the thing is 40' long.
When I went out to look at our existing culvert, I was amazed. The entire bottom of the culvert from one end to the other is gone. It's been eaten away by our acid rain. I knew we had acid rain - it's why we switched from metal water troughs to rubber ones. The metal troughs ended up with holes way too quickly.
Then just a couple of days ago, stakes appeared in our ditch. One on either side of the driveway but much farther apart than I expected. I'm not sure what they will be doing 50 feet from the driveway but I look forward to finding out!