Cattle Guard Operations and Maintenance Plan

NRCS O&M-PS-382-560


A properly operated and maintained cattleguard is an asset to your land.  This cattleguard was designed and installed as an access road and livestock fence intersection on your land.  The performance life of this system can be assured by developing and carrying out a good operation and maintenance program. This practice will require you to perform periodic operations of maintenance to keep up satisfactory performance.  The following recommendations will help you in performing adequate operation and maintenance procedures.


  • Maintain the roadway surface in a good condition, which includes periodic grading or repair of the surface.
  • Prevent surface ponding by grading to remove depressions.
  • Immediately repair any vandalism, vehicular, or livestock damage.
  • Displaced material due to erosion around the cattleguard should be replaced with like material.
  • Remove the cattleguard deck prior to cleaning, and reinstall upon completion.
  • Clean the area beneath the cattleguard deck of dirt and other materials to the full depth of the designed foundation over the entire width of the installation. Where there is existing leadoff for drainage such as a ditch, cleaning includes removing material from the ditch to provide for waterflow through the installation.
  • Conserve roadbed and surfacing materials disturbed by maintenance operations, replace and compact by tamping to provide support and surface texture consistent with the abutting road. Upon completion of deck reinstallation, the deck surface should be flush with, or not more than 1 inch above, the adjacent road surface and parallel with the normal road gradient. Tighten loose fasteners on the cattleguard and rigid gate. Reweld ruptured welds, and weld localized cracks.
  • Fence and gates shall be maintained according to the Operation and Maintenance plan for the Fence Practice Standard-382.
  • Metal areas where paint has come off or is loose should be repainted with each a prime and finish coat. The metal should be thoroughly cleaned and fee from rust, scale, oil or grease. Surfaces should be cleaned by wire brushing, sanding, grinding and/or sandblasting. The cleaned surface should be bright base metal. The prime coat should be a lead free, zinc-rich, rust-inhibitive alkyd metal primer. Minimum thickness should be 1-1/2 mils (0.05 mm) dry-film thickness (DFT). The finish coat should be an oil alkyd-enamel, gloss paint. Minimum thickness should be 3 mils (0.10 mm) DFT, applied in two applications. The finish coat color should be Federal Safety Yellow or match color no. 13655, Federal Specification TT-C-595.
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