Dirt and Gravel Roads Program
Pennsylvania contains thousands of miles of unpaved roads that provide service to local residents and businesses including agriculture, forestry products, and oil and gas extraction. Unpaved roads are relatively inexpensive to maintain but over time can become major sources of sediment pollution to adjacent streams.
The Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program was enacted into law in April 1997 as Section 9106 of the PA Vehicle Code, with $5 Million in annual funding for "environmentally sensitive road maintenance". The goal of the Program to create a more environmentally and economically sustainable low-volume road network through education, outreach, and project funding. The program provides funding and training to local road owning entities to help prevent sediment pollution to streams.
The State Conservation Commission's (SCC) administers the program which annually provides $4 million to county conservation districts who administer the program at the local level. The Conservation District works with local road-owning entities to develop a work plan to correct verified pollution problems on unpaved roads. Municipalities are required to attend a two-day Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM) of Dirt and Gravel Roads Training every five years to be eligible to apply for funding.
The Clinton County Conservation District annually receives funds from the SCC for the Dirt and Gravel Road Program. A Quality Assurance Board (QAB) ranks municipal applications for funds based on several factors and makes recommendations to District Board of Directors on which projects should be funded.
The Grant Process
When the contract is signed by the applicant and District Manager, the municipality may request 50% of the awarded grant to cover the cost of materials or any advance expenditures. Work can begin after the contract is signed and a pre-construction meeting is held. Work done before the contract is signed cannot be paid for under the contract. The grantee has one year to complete the approved contract. If unable to complete in one years' time, the grantee may request in writing for a one year extension on the project. Projects must be completed to be eligible to participate in future grant application rounds.
More information about the Dirt and Gravel Road Program, including the required training to be eligible for funds, can be found at the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies or by contacting the District at 570-726-3798.
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