Bergami Driveway Construction – White pine, Tn.

Tom and Katy Bergami originally contacted us in 2009 after purchasing an overgrown 17 acre farm in White Pine TN.   After years of neglect much of the former pasture had grown over in cedars, pine and multiflora rose.  Following an initial site assessment the Bergami’s set aside a modest budget for pasture restoration and mowing.  Each year incremental improvements were made.  Eventually, in 2012, they built a small barn with a live-in loft, with well and septic installed for a future home.  Only one thing was missing – a driveway.

The Land / Planning

The Bergami’s farm is mostly field and consists of rolling terrain generally facing South-East.  Nestled in a gentle drainage below the barn and future home site is a lovely spring-fed pond.  Tom wanted the new driveway to come across the existing dam.  This would shorten the driveway, as using the dam dramatically decreased the elevation gain required for the road.  It would also limit the impact on the farm as almost no field acreage would be disturbed by driveway construction.  The problem was the dam itself.  The levee, although correctly built, was narrow along the top and would require an enormous quantity of fill dirt to support a proper driveway (i.e. 14 feet of width).  Initial estimates for the importation of fill dirt put the driveway project out of reach financially.  After some discussion it was decided we would harvest fill along the road corridor with only the bulldozer and hope for the best.  This was a risky plan, due to shallow soils and the high probability of hitting subsurface rock.  If we were starved for fill dirt and required to import via dump truck, or stage a track hoe to harvest from another location on the farm, costs would increase dramatically.  If we were able to successfully harvest all of the necessary fill along the road corridor with only the John Deere 650 the only negative impact, versus a long list of pluses, would be a slightly expanded corridor footprint.  This would require modest additional re-vegetation costs.

Consolidation

With perfect spring weather, a few simple diagrams and the pre-staging of all materials Senior Bulldozer Operator Archie Boone artfully completed all necessary grading for the 550 foot drive in less than a week.  This included lifting the water level in the pond a full 10 inches.  Foundation gravel (small ballast) and top surfacing (road bond) were also applied for a 6″ thick driving path.  Banks and ditch lines were raked and matted where appropriate.  Check dams and correct inflow/outflow aprons, constructed of over-sized rip-rap, were placed wherever necessary to prevent erosion and sedimentation.  Finally, 3600 gallons of mixed grass and clover hydroseed were sprayed over all de-vegetated areas.

The Bergami’s were ecstatic with the outcome of their driveway construction.  We managed to complete the road well under budget, and even add a few extras such as new farm gates and a bit of landscaping, including an enormous Japanese maple.