Driveway Dry-Well, etc. ?


Hi,
Have moved into a 30 year old house that has an asphalt driveway with the house at the bottom of.
Near the bottom there is what I believe is called a "dry-well". There's a heavy metal grate that is over what I guess can be called a "pit".
At one time the metal grate was level with the asphalt, I would imagine, but isn't any more. The grate has sunk about 6 or 8 inches, and the asphalt looks "collapsed" around it.
In the Spring will probably have a top coat of new asphalt applied, or the present asphalt dug up and I guess new gravel put in place, and then the new asphalt.
Haven't gotten any quotes yet on the two approaches, although the digging up the old, and placing new gravel down is probably the better, and more expensive certainly, way to go. What do you think ?
Questions, please:
a what is typically done: just the top layer removed and a new asphalt layer of a few inches placed right over the existing gravel ? Or, should one always dig up the old gravel and replace with new gravel ?
Suggested thicknesses for new gravel, and for the asphalt.
b. How were these dry wells usually constructed. Can't tell by looking. Is it likely they placed some sort of pre-cast pit in there first ? Or,... ?
If it has sunk a bit, how would it be repaired to bring the surface of it level again ?
Would like to learn a bit about these things before asking contractors over.
Thanks, Bob
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in buffalo ny: your address, climate, and weather determines driveway construction specifications. since the construction idea is always to keep water away from your home, i would hope you can put in a real drainage system that will serve you properly. here, concrete makes a better driveway that outlasts the one you describe. also look at every sidewalk and patio and foundation repair you might upgrade upon the same job. also see: http://www.buildingscience.com/resources/homeowner.htm
Robert11 wrote:

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FIRST YOU MUST REPLACE THE ENTIRE DRIVEWAY INCLUDING THE BASE!
otherwise every crack will reappear and every sunk area sink again
can you drain the grate area to a lower level somewhere on your property?
drywells under asphalt are bad and drywells always clog from dirt, leaves debris etc eventually.
your much better off draining the driveway water to daylight.
not only that a driveway collects a LOT of water.
take a inch of rain per square foot times the number of sq feet of your driveway, thats length times width.
adds up to thousands of gallons
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