Clearing snow from road closed in winter - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-22-2019, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Clearing snow from road closed in winter

Where I live, a narrow paved road is how we go in and out for eight months of the year. It is not plowed in winter, so we use a longer gravel road that is plowed. Every spring, mud season can make parts of the gravel road difficult to travel without a high-clearance vehicle. So come mid-March I begin my annual effort to clear what I can off the 1/4 mile of closed road, to help Mother Nature along. The difficulty of this varies from one year to the next, according to how much rain we see along with snow events. Usually the snow pack has settled and become partially crusty. The snowblower is of limited use by itself. The front edge of the bucket and the skids on the sides tend to catch on the lowest layer, keeping the auger from chewing its way through the overburden. Even the sides of the bucket can't easily push their way into the very stiff snow pack. This year, I am finding that it's easy enough to use a spade to cleave through the pack, loosening 4-6" of snow at a time, but working my way along that much road is indeed slow going. Once I've loosened maybe five feet back, the snowblower is able to chew it up and throw it aside easily enough.

Working this way is slow, hard work, and I get just so much done in the hour or so I can spend on it at a time. So I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for technique or equipment that would make this process easier.

Last edited by DickR; 03-22-2019 at 01:15 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-22-2019, 01:28 PM
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The whole trick to efficient snow removal is to get to it as soon as possible after the event. Letting it sit for days, weeks and possibly a month or more is going to make it tough, always. At the very minimum you should try to make a couple of passes after every event so you have at least some areas where you can take a partial bucketful of that hard packed mess.

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post #3 of 16 Old 03-22-2019, 02:01 PM
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This may be thinking a bit to far outside the box, but maybe you could try running a front tine garden tiller up and down the road to break up the hard snow, before using the snow blower. It sure would beat busting it up with a shovel. ----- John
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-22-2019, 02:09 PM
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What kind of stuff are you open to considering?

Old blowers (like some older Ariens, among others) had their augers stick out beyond the front of the bucket, so they could bite the snow/ice directly, before trying to shove the bucket into it. You could cut back the bucket, to expose the augers.

You could perhaps remove the skids entirely, to reduce the amount of stuff that's trying to push through the uncleared snow/ice. Honda has rear-mounted skids, behind the bucket. If you wanted, you could look into modifying yours to accept rear skids, to still provide some "guidance", while removing stuff from the side of the bucket.

A machine with tracks will have more grip, and can often also be set to hold the bucket some distance off the ground (making skids redundant).

So there are changes you could consider trying on your current machine. Or a used blower of a different style could also be an option.

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post #5 of 16 Old 03-22-2019, 06:27 PM
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As long as I am looking at this and the amount of work you are doing a BCS 853 with the Berta 32 inch snow blower would do all you want and then some.
The Berta 2 stage snow casters are heavy and the augers are designed to dig through heavy snow pack in the ALPS. The snow blower skids will keep it above the mud too

You could invest in the metal tracks for the BCS 853 and have all the traction you want while you are using it.

I would install the larger fuel jets and you will have a better engine to do the job with as the exhaust will not stink as much as the engines are being installed with smaller fuel jets to make the EPA happy.

Your dealing with soft ground; you need traction, you need adhesion and you need floatation and the metal tracks will give you all three of these things every time you use it.

The 2 stage Berta snow thrower is heavy and it will not ride up on the snow pack and it will dig everything up and get rid of all the snow pack.

You will no longer have to resort to using the gravel lane you use in winter after you invest in the BCS 853, the steel tracks and the 32 inch Berta 2 stage snow thrower and you will have a machine that can be used the year round for other tasks and it is gear driven eliminating the need for V belts for the snow blower and many other attachments.

You can attach a riding sulky or riding trailer to carry more gasoline and a shovel and thermos for coffee or cocoa.

You can take the center cut for a full width and then decide if you want to take half cuts if you have extra time but the power the machine has will be more than enough to cut full widths every time and every third pass will make 96 inches of cleared width for you.

Last edited by leonz; 03-22-2019 at 06:40 PM.
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post #6 of 16 Old 03-23-2019, 08:33 AM
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Since the paved road is shorter and more convenient to use why not pay someone to plow it and keep it open all year long ?


Make sure the windows are up before the snow plow goes by !!

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post #7 of 16 Old 03-23-2019, 12:02 PM
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the issue is whether he can afford a plow service and seasonal roads are something that plow guys will stay away from.
Plow truck guys charge by the push or the accumulation trigger of 2 inches or more per job and it will get very expensive and the other issue is the road is a closed seasonal road which is an automatic red flag to plow guys.

Buying one of the larger tracked YANMAR snow blowers that is available here in the states will be the better option for him.

It all depends on how much money he can afford to spend versus how quickly he needs to get out every day plus if he has a need for a multipurpose machine.
I mentioned the BCS 853 2 wheel mules with steel tracks and rubber tires as they can be used for multiple jobs allowing it to be used the year round.

Ideally a single purpose machine being snow removal is best but the issue he has is a mud pit for a lane and a seasonal road that is 1/4 mile long. and 16 feet wide to the ditches if it was built to modern standards with drainage on both sides of the seasonal road as the road should have a crown in the center to allow drainage to occur.

Another option would be a sub compact tractor like a BX2370 Kubota with a loader and rear mount snow caster as it
can be used to stack snow as needed and be able to clear off any accumulation to allow him to exit the seasonal road all winter.
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post #8 of 16 Old 03-23-2019, 03:23 PM
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...What snowblower does the OP own. Pretty important place to start.

I’d have to suggest a Honda, rear skids, serrated teeth, the auger sticks out just past the bucket for chewing purposes, and most importantly...tracks.

You really only need to remove the lighter stuff on top, you can drive on the hard pack underneath. Wheels Would be a real testament to your level of physical fitness.

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post #9 of 16 Old 03-23-2019, 07:33 PM
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sounds like you need heavy duty equipment if this snow is packed down all winter.

a 4 foot or so tiller attachment to a tractor to break up snow and ice before using the grader

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post #10 of 16 Old 03-24-2019, 01:49 AM
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My cabin is on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River, with a one lane gravel frontage road that's about a quarter mile long that rises from roughly river level up to the highway. This road is cut out of the side of the bluff...meaning you screw up to the river side, you're dropping anywhere from 100 to 400 foot straight down.

Yeah. Don't EVER screw up, no matter what. And when I say it's one lane, I mean it. One car width too far outside and it's straight down to the river. No guard rail, few trees to stop you. Most posters here would see it and say "you're crazy" to drive it even in the middle of summer.

One family lives up there year round. Since this road extends along the west side bluff, this means for roughly 4 months, they only get about 3-4 hours a day of direct sun. Therefore, over time during winter, the road builds up snow, and a crust of ice at the bottom of everything that doesn't get traffic.

They never plow it. They also have no other choice to get in and out. So...never plowed, doesn't really melt - how do they get in and out considering they average about 50 inches of snow per winter?

By driving on it daily (with 4wd's of course...nothing fancy, just an old early 1970's 4wd pickup). This cuts ruts which as long as they keep driving on it, it self-maintains the ruts to where they can get in and out. They also carry in the vehicle sawdust for the occasional spots where they need to add some traction.

The key is never slow down as far as momentum is concerned. It's more or less flat at the bottom where they live but is a gradual, uneven rise to the highway. So, there are spots where if you hesitate, you're screwed. If you are have to back down to the bottom and start over.

So...maintain momentum, never over-accelerate to where you're spinning, and you get through. But the key to it all is simply keep driving on it with "enough truck" to get through.

To me...the OP needs to have loads of larger diameter rock (say fist sized limestone, not the average ordinary 1" rock) poured on the gravel road in summer to build up a thick layer on it and drive THAT over the summer to pack it down to where in the spring it doesn't soften up so much. Once the bottom layer is packed down, have another load hauled in and repeat. That's how the campground maintains their road...every spring a layer gets put down the entire length.

It's either that, or simply choosing to drive the paved driveway in winter to keep the ruts going.

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