Secondary Roads FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you salt and sand gravel roads?
No, salt and sand are only applied to hard surfaced roads due to the damage it can cause to rock roads. Gravel roads that become slick are maintained with a motor grader to provide better traction.
Does the County repair damaged mailboxes caused by snow removal?
Your mailbox and post should be able to withstand potential discharge from snowplows. Please take time, in the Fall of the year to evaluate your mailbox’s integrity. Mailboxes must meet the standards of the United States Postal Service. Inferior posts and mounts will not be repaired. Maliciously damaged mailboxes will be repaired by county personnel in a timely manner.
How can I find out if a snow emergency has been declared?
Please call the Secondary Roads Department at 712-328-5608.
Do not call 911, the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Department, or the City Police Department to find out if a snow emergency has been declared. Those phone lines need to remain open for emergency calls.
Use the resources listed below:
Tune in to local/regional news media
Subscribe to email and text alerts for road notifications at https://www.iceasb.org/road-notifications/subscribe/
How can I get notifications or Information on road closures and construction projects?
Significantly large projects that utilize State and Federal funding are shown on the Secondary Roads page with updated status. Projects on State Highways are managed by the State on their website. You may register to receive Notifications of detours in Pottawattamie County, or other Counties in Iowa by registering here.
Statewide information can be found at https://www.511ia.org/
How do I add a new or widen an existing driveway or field entrance?
Fill out the Entrance Permit application, found here. Applications can be e-mailed to PottCountyRoads-pc_74554/" data-fancybox data-type="iframe", faxed to (712) 328-4751, or dropped off at the main office. Permits will not be processed until the $100 payment is received, and work cannot be started until a field inspection has been completed.
How do I apply for dust control?
A permit is required from residents applying any type of chemical suppressant to the road surface. Residents are instructed to contact one of the approved vendors to perform this service. Questions regarding dust control and material used should be directed to the vendor. Pottawattamie County will not guarantee the effectiveness of the dust control product, and any complaints regarding the quality of the product should be addressed to the vendor that has been selected.
R&C Dust Control
How do you decide if crews will conduct snow removal outside of normal hours of operation?
The Road Foreman, monitor multiple weather forecasting applications, and utilize the Iowa DOT weather information system when a weather event is predicted. The foreman may drive around to check road conditions. If warranted, the foreman will call in crew members for an early start time.
How is street parking impacted during a snow emergency?
When a snow emergency is declared, all vehicles must be removed from the roadway. For further information please refer to the County's 'Winter Parking Restrictions Ordinance'.
No parking is ever allowed where a "No Parking" sign is displayed, even during a snow emergency.
The post office will not deliver my mail because of the snow in front of my mailbox. Will the County be out to remove this snow?
No. Property owners are responsible for maintaining access to mailboxes.
What are the hours of operation for snow removal?
Pottawattamie County’s normal operating hours are 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. These hours can be extended to early as 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. to include weekends during snow removal operations. If you have an emergency outside of these hours, please call 911.
What is the process to repair/reconstruct seal coat roads?
Pottawattamie County utilizes seal coat roads to provide dust free gravel roads. Majority of these roads have been paid for by the residents that reside on that road and have been maintained by the County ever since.
Since the roads are gravel they are less stable than traditional paving. Due to the work being paid for by the residents utilizing special assessment they were constructed with the lowest cost method deemed acceptable. The roads are seal coat with an 8” deep stabilized gravel base.
Given the long history of these roads and the 10-12 year service life; many people are unfamiliar with the work to repair them. The process begins by recycling the surface and base into a new base. This may take several passes with a reclaimer to depth of 8”; but the final pass may include adding more asphalt emulsion. The recycled material is then reshaped by motor graders and compacted. The color of the material is similar to dirt due to the color of the asphalt oil, it can be alarming but functions well if compacted before getting rained on.
After the base is repaired, shaped, and compacted the asphalt emulsion is allowed to remain open so any water may evaporate and help harden the base. Once dry (usually indicated by a “darkening” of the surface) asphalt emulsion is sprayed on the surface to seal out water. The asphalt emulsion is then covered with chips to protect it from damage and cars from getting asphalt on them. We may double seal the surface or single seal the surface depending on conditions. We leave the loose chips on the surface to protect traffic from the “tar” usually through the rest of the summer season. It looks like a gravel road, but the intent was originally suppress the dust and the dust should be nearly nonexistent at this point. Normally by the following spring the road is free of loose material and the road is color of the aggregate used. Some people don’t like the color of the gravel, but when it becomes the color of the asphalt then we’ve lost our wearing surface and seal and the road will fail.
We understand it can be a frustrating and messy project; please be patient with the crews and workers they want to do the best they can and it is a tough job.
If you are interested in upgrading your gravel road please review the policy on the Secondary Roads website.
When will a snow emergency be declared?
When weather and road conditions have the potential to be or are severe, the Secondary Roads Department will declare a snow emergency.
The time and date, for both the beginning and end of the snow emergency will be included in the initial declaration. The minimum duration will be 48 hours; however, the ending time and date can be amended if necessary due to weather conditions.
When will my road be plowed?
Roads are plowed based on traffic. Initial efforts focus on roads with higher traffic volumes. These roads are designated as priority routes and are typically destination-based, meaning they provide service between two high traffic destinations. Hard surface roads with lower traffic volumes are plowed next, followed by sub-division roads. Gravel roads may be plowed between the hours of 6:00a.m. and 6:00p.m. We first attempt to open gravel roads to one lane of traffic and then remove the rest of the snow over the following days.
Why does it take so long to clear gravel roads?
Restoring access on gravel roads is a slow process because Motor Graders are not built for speed, and a typical route covers seventy to eighty miles. After a severe storm it’s not possible to cover the entire area until the second or third day. Home owners are encouraged to plan accordingly for the winter season.
Why does the County mow and/or trim trees in front of my house?
The County mows in order to maintain sight distance, vegetation, shaded roadways, undergrowth, removal of snow traps and clear zones. The County will not mow on any personal property; only the right-of-way.
Why is my seal coat road bleeding?
Seal Coat roads may “bleed or flush” asphalt during periods of high traffic or high temperatures. The asphalt (tar) that seals the surface and holds the aggregate in place expands within the existing voids and reaches the surface where it can be picked up by vehicle tires. This phenomenon rapidly occurs and is unpredictable. Generally, with it being a thermal expansion the asphalt should not expand beyond its previous temperate experience, but that is where traffic plays a role in compressing the unstable surface and pumping the asphalt to the surface.
The solution is “bridging” the flushed asphalt with aggregate. The larger aggregate provides the fastest long-term solution while the limestone provides for absorption and thickening of the exposed asphalt binder.
The Roads Department is reactive to the situation as it develops, but cannot predict the occurrence. We will continue to monitor these situations until they appear resolved. Actions may include adding aggregate with sanders and sweeping the existing aggregate across the surface into the tacky areas.
If you encounter a bleeding road, avoid driving in the wheel tracks. Traffic tends to pump the asphalt to the surface as well as displace aggregate. The displaced aggregate is normally moved to areas on either side of the wheel tracks for you utilize.
The Asphalt on vehicles may be removed with automotive tar removers or WD 40.
Key Services & Resources
Fax: (712) 328-4751
Monday - Friday
223 S 6th St
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
Council Bluffs, IA 51501