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What kind of contractor for rural driveway/culvert work?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Hokerer, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Hokerer

    Hokerer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Manassas, VA
    Our very rural mountain property has a driveway that requires two switchbacks to get to the top. Just before you hit the first switchback, the driveway dips down for a drainage swale and then it's very steep up into and around that first switchback. We'd like to get someone in to drop a culvert pipe into the bottom of the swale and then tamp down however many truckloads of fill it'd take to come up with a constant, far gentler driveway slope up and around the switchback.

    What kind of contractor do I look for that does that sort of work?

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  2. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,774
    Loc:
    SE MI
    Seems like any reputable excavation contractor with a dozer and backhoe/excavator should be able to handle that. Sounds pretty straightforward. Probably not cheap, depending on location and availability of fill. Yellow pages?
  3. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    903
    Loc:
    Upstate NY
    Rent a small excavator ( $175/day here), Plastic pipe+-$300, Fill+- $500, DIY.

    Ehouse
  4. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Principality of Pontinha
    I'm all for the diy route but often you can't rent the necessary machine for what they will charge you. I would say it "depends" on the scope of the job. If you're changing grade it's not just a simple matter of digging a straight trench and dropping in a culvert.

    1. Are we talking 30 yards and an afternoon, or a chain of trucks and thousands of yards of fill?
    2. Can you get a triaxle dump to where you need to be? Excavators do a great all-around job at everything but nothing beats a dozer for grading. A large machine will also compact the ground far better than a mini.
    3. Will you need retaining work on the slope? That means rocks/boulders, and you may not want to just fill in the space. Do you have that on hand or will it need to be trucked in too?
    4. Don't know you're location but make sure the tree huggers don't hassle you because of encroachment on the endangered river fern or maybe even the spotted-eyed lichen. A local, reputable contractor will know the do's and don'ts as well as the how and who (to avoid).

    Site work, excavation etc. Depending how slow you're area is you can get someone there cheap, plus they often have access to free fill being recycled from other jobs (not free to you, but still cheaper). Look for the closest contractor to your home and go from there. Often we will low-ball a bid just so we don't see other company's trucks doing work in our sandbox.
  5. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Messages:
    2,070
    Loc:
    Eaton Township, Ohio
    As stated above, Any excavation company should be able to give you an estimate. In my opinion, it depends how large of a culvert pipe you need and your ability to procure equipment needed to do it yourself! We built and installed this one in my driveway, but as you can see we had access to the proper equipment and operator! Good luck and do it right the first time, I finally got it right on my second attempt. Got the pipe from Contech, Very good guys to work with!

    9446250-R1-019-8.jpg
  6. Dtunes

    Dtunes New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    63
    Loc:
    Outside of Boston MA
    Any reputable excavation company should be able to handle it easily. I used to be a laborer for an excavator, I was basically the guy in the trench who would dig with a shovel once we got close to anything that could be damaged by the machine(water/gas/sewer/electric lines). We had bobcats/backhoes/excavators/etc. Don't let anyone fool you, operating one of those machines properly is a highly skilled profession. Not to mention it's surprisingly easy to hurt anyone working near you, what seems like a tiny bump with a bucket(or the back of the machine as you swivel) can cause major injuries. Not to mention you never know what might be buried if you live anywhere near a population center(especially one that's been settled for a while).

    Unless you have experience w/ these machines I would say do not try this yourself. It's not only a matter of safety but a skilled operator can do it in a fraction of the time a DIYer can. But if your good with heavy machinery want to give it a shot, as far as jobs go this one is not that difficult.

    If you see sand at any point STOP IMMEDIATELY and dig with a shovel(or not at all), water/gas/electric pipes have to be encased in sand to prevent rocks from damaging them. Always call digsafe before doing anything, always even if your sure there is nothing buried in the ground.
    Eatonpcat likes this.
  7. Crane Stoves

    Crane Stoves Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
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    Loc:
    Duxbury, MA.
    Dtunes got to my dig safe comments before me (very wise words).....but i will add this also....careful about culverts and installing new if your near any protected wetland areas, last thing you need is some Gov. dude knocking at your door after your done telling you to rip it up. check to make sure incase you need a permit before doing it.
  8. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Another bump for a skilled operator. 2-4 hours to learn the machine, 6 hours to make a mess, and then put it back together.
  9. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

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    Eaton Township, Ohio
    Can't hide from the safety police...LOL I guess I give too much credit to common sense.

    You wouldn't believe the estimates I got to have someone install a culvert. DIY it cost over twenty grand.

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