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Infrastructure: Gravel Roads and Relaxed Standards

From a 2010 interview of Rod Loveless

Plats 35,000 sq. ft. or larger were the type of plats you could do as “relaxed standards” plats because you didn’t have to build roads to the county’s specifications. You could do it whatever way you wanted. We started out with that kind of plat, so all the Mirrormont lots are 35,000 sq. ft. or larger.

I operated bulldozers and backhoes and road graders. I actually did quite a bit of the work myself out here in the development of Mirrormont. I had some interesting experiences. One that people get a kick out of is:

We were switching the roads that had all been graveled and gradually converted them to a bituminous surface, which was like asphalt. Some of the roads we asphalted and in Division V there was a steep road going down that was difficult to surface [SE 155th Pl]. So we decided we’d blacktop that one ourselves with a road grader. We could get the blacktop in trucks from Washington Asphalt. The trucks would come out and spread the blacktop as well as they could, and then we could take the grader and grade it out so that it was proper for the road.

Well, the hill was really steep, and we’d rented a roller to roll the asphalt while it was still hot. When you first spread it out it has to be rolled and compacted. I was running the roller and the man who had worked for me for many years as a bulldozer/road grader operator, John Pearson. He was running the road grader, and I was coming down the hill with the roller, rolling the asphalt. And the hill was really steep for this roller and as I was rolling down the hill I could feel it slip a little. About 2-3 minutes later, coming down the steep part of the hill, I could no longer still steer the roller and it started to slide of its own accord. It was going around in 360-degree circles. So I jumped off of the roller, but my foot caught in the floorboards and the roller was small enough that with one foot in the floorboards I could just touch the road on the other side of the machine. So I was hopping on one foot with the other foot in the roller and hanging on for dear life as we were revolving around in 360-degree turns coming down the hill. John Pearson on the road grader was coming up at the same time. I looked at him and his eyes were as big as saucers. He thought I was going to be run over by the roller and killed. I finally got to the bottom of the steepest part and all of a sudden it was steerable again and stopped going around in circles. So I jumped back on, pulled myself back on the roller, and was able to straighten it out, get it off to the side of the road, and get off. I was okay, but my leg was very sore after that.

There were problems with people speeding around and learning to drive. My kids learned to drive out here too when they were 12-13 years old. I’d send them on errands—there was nobody around, and they were private roads at that time.

Rod Loveless, developer of Mirrormont


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