Dust to dust

Sep 12, 2012 By Steven R. Peck

Who knew that drought could affect unpaved roads, too?

A few years ago, when Main Street through downtown Riverton was torn up during the big street rebuild and downtown beautification project, there was a summer evening thunderstorm that drenched the dirt and filled the trenches knee-deep with water.

To the untrained eye it looked like a big problem. There was a lot of water standing around, and all eight blocks of the project looked suitable for a mud-wrestling competition.

But all that mud didn't worry the road construction foreman.

"Remember," he told an inquiring newspaper writer, "water is a construction material."

In short order, some of the water was pumped out and the rest incorporated with the digging, grading, dust control and compacting associated with the job. No water trucks were required for a few days.

The foreman's words came to mind over the weekend as reporter Martin Reed filed his story on how the hot, very dry summer is having an unwanted effect on Fremont County's many dirt roads.

Usually they get a few surface soakings every summer from Mother Nature, which helps the surface stay compacted. When there's no water, the road surfaces start turning to dust. Not only can that begin to compromise the road, but the dust is likely to blow away in a windstorm.

So that dust you've seen whipping across the countryside all summer? It might well be the top layer of a dirt road.

Yet another reason to hope, dance, wish and pray for rain.

More Fair Scrapbooks coming

Alert readers pointed out that a couple of Ranger delivery routes were missed when we published and distributed our annual Fremont County Fair Scrapbook last month. We're not sure how or why it happened, only that there didn't seem to be enough of them to go around.

We know there was full distribution for the Lander Journal and Wind River News, but because we aren't sure precisely how many Ranger readers didn't get the Scrapbook, we've decided to reprint enough copies of the edition for every Ranger subscriber and newsstand buyer.

So, if you are a Riverton-area subscriber and got the Fremont County Fair Scrapbook once, you're going to get it again. And if you missed it the first time around, look for it again in the edition dated Friday, Sept. 14.

This is one of our signature publications every year, and we want to make sure everyone sees it. So we'll roll the presses again.

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