Chip sealing is one of the pavement preservation methods which the Josephine County Public Works Division uses for road maintenance. Chip seals, which may have been done recently on a road in your area, are spread on approximately 60 to 70 miles of county-maintained roads every year.
How does it work?
Generally, the process involves cleaning and filling individual cracks in the road surface with liquid asphalt. The entire paved surface is then sprayed with liquid asphalt at a rate of approximately 0.5 gallons per square yard and rock chips are spread across the entire surface. The rock chips are pressed into the liquid asphalt with a power roller before the liquid asphalt cools to a semi-solid state, holding the rock chips for a new wearing surface.
Does it help the road?
This process preserves the road by preventing storm water from getting into cracks in the road surface. Moisture can damage the road foundation. The new surface also provides a better skid resistant roadway for motorists.
How often are roads covered with chip seals?
In an average year, chips seals are applied to about 6 percent of Josephine County's total of 570 miles of county-maintained roads. It is only through the periodic use of chip seals that the Public Works Division can prolong the life of an asphalt road and avoid the higher cost of an overlay. The work typically takes place in the summer. The warmer weather is necessary for the asphalt to cure properly and take a firm grip on the rock chips.
How long will a chip seal last?
Eventually, a new asphalt concrete overlay is required on some roads. When a new overlay is scheduled, the road is often straightened and widened where it is feasible and cost-effective.
Do other counties chip seal their roads?
Chip seals are used by virtually every county and state highway department in the United States as a cost-effective alternative to asphalt concrete overlays.
Why don't we pave all the roads with asphalt concrete?
Josephine County cannot afford to overlay all the roads in its jurisdiction with asphalt concrete (black asphalt cement mixed with rock) without a long-term significant increase in revenues. Using asphalt concrete overlays instead of chip seals in all cases would not be a cost-effective way to maintain the entire county road system.
Public Works may contract for asphalt concrete overlays on some of Josephine County's more significant highways and will also do asphalt concrete repairs on isolated problem areas or minor segments of roads.
How will I know if my road is going to be chip-sealed? Signs are normally placed on the roads that are scheduled for chip-sealing about two days before the work starts.