June: Chipsealing 

The following is a true story—it happened when one of my colleagues was in the Virgin Islands a number of years ago and was reported in the local newspaper. Apparently, the Virgin Islands equivalent to a CDOT superintendent had come to the Legislature with an ambitious proposal to tear up all the asphalt roads on the island of St. Thomas—about half the roads on the island—and replace them with concrete roads. He recited the litany of concrete's durability, ease of repair, etc., and pretty much had the Legislature convinced. 

The second half of his proposal was to tear out all the concrete roads on the island and replace them with asphalt roads. This raised a few eyebrows, and he was asked why. His response: "I've got to have something for my people to do!" 

I don’t know if that actually is a true story or not (I hope it’s not!), but with the numerous street projects getting ready to start in our community in the upcoming months, I thought we could use a little humor. Speaking of streets, I wanted to share a little bit of information regarding the chip sealing projects that residents will see in the near future. 

As part of our street maintenance program, the City’s Streets Department targets street sections in various parts of the community to receive a special treatment. This process places a layer of oil and gravel on a roadway with the intent of extending the life of deteriorated pavement, waterproofing existing pavement, and improving skid resistance. The actual process goes something like this: In the spring, the City identifies the roads that need assistance and spends some time cleaning and sealing the cracks. Following crack-sealing, the City contracts with asphalt companies to provide the layer of gravel and oil “slurry seal” to the pavement in question.

According to engineers, the practice of chip-sealing roads significantly prolongs the life of roadways and saves funds on ongoing maintenance, thus saving the City money in the long run. Wait too long to chip-seal a deteriorated roadway and, although it will still improve the life of the road, the damage has been done and the net improvement is less. Believe it or not, deferring maintenance on a roadway, while saving a minimal amount of money in the short-run, costs significantly more in the long-run.  With the overall need to maintain the roadways on a slim budget, this process provides a lot of bang for the buck.

In the meantime, get ready to see some nice improvements coming to some of our more heavily traveled roadways this summer.  Yes, it will be somewhat inconvenient at times but that’s the price we pay for decent roadways.

Posted by Scott Trainor On June 15, 2018 at 12:32 PM