Highway Department

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How do I get my gravel road paved?

The Boone County Highway Department has created a road conversion program.  Click here for the road conversion application.

Click here for petitions 

Q2. Does the Highway Department Pick up Dead Animals?

The primary goal of the Highway Department is to provide a safe transportation system for all of our users.  Therefore, our policy is only to pick up large wild animals (i.e. deer) that are in the right of way and pose a danger to motorists.  We do not pick up small animals such as squirrels, rabbits, opossums or raccoons.

If you happen upon, or hit a domestic animal on a County Road, please contact the Boone County Sheriff’s office at 765-482-1412.  The Highway Department does not remove domestic animals from the road unless directed by the Sheriff’s office.   

Q3. How Does Boone County Highway determine the surface treatment to a roadway?

There are several different preventative maintenance treatments that can (and should) be used to extend the life of pavements.  Boone County’s selection of treatment is based on several different factors including, but not limited to treatment cost, pavement condition, traffic volume, facility type (rural or urban), original road material (chip & seal, cold-mix asphalt, hot-mix asphalt) and age of the roadway.  Since 2015, the County Highway Department has performed annual condition ratings on all of Boone County’s paved roads and developed an inventory system that can be maintained and utilized to make future decisions in regards to pavement maintenance and capital improvements.  Please visit our Asset Management site for more information regarding Boone County Highway Department’s Asset Management Processes.

Q4. Who is responsible for mowing and cutting brush along roadways?

Due to our limited staff and resources to mow and/or cut the rights-of-ways, we ask all land owners to help us keep our county maintained by mowing and maintaining the entire frontage of their roads.  However, we realize many sites have been neglected for years and require trimming and brush cutting.      

Per Boone County Ordinance 70.04, the County Highway Department have the authority to trim, cut or remove all trees, bushes, plants or other vegetative matter that is growing or present a distance of ten feet from the pavement, berm, or travel portion of any county road or to the edge of the apparent right-of-way.

To report a concern about trees or brush along one of our county roads, please contact the Boone County Highway department at highway@co.boone.in.us or 765-482-4550.  We will prioritize brush cutting needs based on inherent safety issues it possesses and the availability of County Highway staff to perform the work.

Q5. Why does the Highway Department Chip & Seal the Roads?

The purpose of Chip & Seal is to protect water from infiltrating into our hard surfaced roadways and provide a new skid resistant surface on the roadways.  This process, which is performed by our own crews, is one of the most cost effective pavement treatments for roadways and extends the life of the County’s roadway assets.  The Boone County Highway Department may place either a single layer of chip and seal or a double layer of chip and seal, depending on the current condition of the roadway.  To find out all of the roads the Highway Department has or plans to chip & seal this year, visit our Road Maintenance Projects site. 

Q6. What do I do if my mailbox was damaged when snow was being plowed in front of my home?

Per the Boone County Highway Department’s Snow Removal Mailbox Policy, during the time of snow & ice removal, any mailbox hit and damaged by snow & ice thrown from the roadway shall be considered an unavoidable event.  We do not claim responsibility for such incidents and do not replace or reset any mailbox in such circumstances.  If a Boone County Highway vehicle directly impacts a mailbox that was located more than 3’ from the edge of the roadway and causes damage to the mailbox, the highway department will replace it with a standard mailbox and post on a concrete base.  If a property owner desires an upgraded mailbox, it will be their responsibility to replace the standard mailbox placed by the Highway Department.  If a mailbox was located less than 3’ from the edge of the roadway and is damaged by snow, ice, or highway equipment, the property owner is responsible for the replacement.  

Q7. What is brine?

Salt brine is an anti-icing solution made up of water and 23.3 percent salt that is used to prevent snow and ice from bonding to pavement. Brine is effective at temperatures as low as -5 degrees Fahrenheit and can be mixed with other chemicals to lower the freezing point if necessary. Compared to salt, brine is fairly inexpensive at just pennies on the dollar. Brine solution also stays in place better and longer than salt crystals because it is applied as a liquid and stays where it is directed. Solid salt crystals can bounce off the road as they are spread along a route

Q8. Why does the Boone County Highway Department pre-treat roadways?

The Boone County Highway Department pre-treats roadways ahead of winter weather to prevent snow and ice from bonding to pavement and creating slick spots. Pre-treatment occurs 24 to 48 hours prior to a weather event, even when temperatures are above freezing to provide an extra layer of protection, which makes clean-up easier once precipitation starts to fall.  Brining also is used as a preventative measure for frost and/or freezing fog that occurs when temperatures, high humidity, low cloud cover, and low wind can create hazardous conditions, especially on elevated surfaces and bridges. 

Q9. Does rain wash away brine after it's been applied?

If temperatures are above freezing as a weather system approaches, rain may fall before changing to snow or ice. Light rain (amounts up to 0.4 inch) will not wash away brine from a surface if it has had time to completely dry and adhere to the roadway. Forecasted rain totals are taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to pre-treat.

Q10. How is the decision made to pre-treat roads?

There are many factors that determine if & when roads are pre-treated in advance of a winter precipitation event.  Decisions for pretreating roads depends on the type of moisture, the air & road temperatures, the expected time for precipitation to begin and the wind speed/direction.  If it starts out as rain (depending on the amount) is the biggest deciding factor.  (Are the roads dry?  If wet, they will dilute the salinity and not work for its intended purpose.)

Q11. I live on a gravel road, the maintenance seems to lack during the winter months and the gravel seems to diminish. What is your gravel road maintenance plan during the winter months?

Gravel road maintenance is very dependent on the conditions and forecasted weather.  During the winter months grading cannot be performed when the ground is frozen.  When air and/or road temperatures rise the road surface thaws and the area just below the surface will still be frozen, causing the moisture to come to the surface.  When these conditions exist, the top few inches of the road surface becomes soft and it cannot be graded.  Gravel is less visible because normal maintenance cannot be performed due to freezing temperatures and less drying time throughout the day.  The freeze/thaw cycle through the winter months cause the material to get pushed below the surface which looks like the material has diminished.  When the road is graded (as conditions allow), the material returns to the surface.

Q12. Why does my gravel road have washboards?

Washboards are created by braking & accelerating traffic, as vehicles stop and start road materials shift causing small bumps that become larger as this process continues.

Q13. Why does my gravel road have potholes?

Potholes are caused by trapped water beneath the roads surface.  This will allow the materials to segregate (separate) each time it is traveled.  Freezing and thawing of the gravel roadways will also cause potholes.  Dust control applications can cause water to be trapped and potholes will form and expand in these areas as well.

Q14. Where are the graders during the summer?

In the summer, due to the lack of moisture, there is very limited grading time.  In early summer, motor-grader operators ensure the surfaces of areas to be treated with dust control are properly prepared before the product is applied.  Weather events (rain) can help or hinder us the opportunity to target sections of roads in poor condition and re-grade them to improve safety.  The individuals that operate graders also assist with other road projects that the Highway Department is responsible for.

Road Program

Q15. Why is the edge of the road being graded?

Through the summer months, as time and conditions allow, a process to reclaim aggregate on the edge of gravel roads may be performed.  This process is done to clear vegetation growth along the road edges and to ensure proper drainage.  This is by cutting or disking the road edge, then later returning to grade once the vegetation has wilted.  

Q16. Why isn’t my gravel road plowed as often as the paved roads?

The freezing and thawing we experience in our winter months causes gravel roads to become soft.  Soft roadways will become severely damaged by our snow removal equipment which could create another issue.  In order to keep the material on the road, we do not typically dispatch our trucks to gravel roads until there is 4 or more inches of snow cover or drifting.  Snow plows that service gravel roads are set 2 inches above the road surface to prevent the plows from removing road materials.

Q17. I live on a gravel road and I am curious as to what the general grading schedule is?

Most gravel roads are graded multiple times per year, usually in the spring and fall.  However, grading is moisture dependent, and there is no set schedule because these conditions vary.  Grading cannot be accomplished without a suitable amount of moisture in the material.  Standing surface water and incoming rain will also delay grading.  Subsequently, road grading generally will not be performed during the dry summer months due to low moisture content or if heavy rain is expected 48 hours after a grading.