Chip seals don’t rely solely on vehicle traffic to finish the job

The in basket: Jim, who didn’t provide a last name, saw the recent Road Warrior column that provided information from Kitsap’s County’s Road Superintendent Jacques Dean about what’s being done on Gold Creek Road near the Kitsap/Mason County line and wrote, ”I have one question for Jacques Dean. Why in the world would you not use a roller to harden the chip seal work instead of letting traffic do the work for them. Will the county pay for all the rock chips or cracked windshields that will happen to my new car. If the county wants to help, put in speed bumps on the road to slow down the race car-like track speeders that happen everyday.”

The out basket: I’m scrubbing egg off my face, as I’ve discovered that that column perpetuated bad information I have dispelled off and on over the years of writing Road Warrior about the final stages of a chip seal, a low cost means of repaving and preserving roads. They don’t rely only on vehicle traffic to imbed the gravel into the oil they spread on first, it turns out.

Jacques says, “When we do a chip seal we utilize pneumatic rollers (tire rollers) to initially seat the rock in the underlying oil, and follow immediately with a steel drum roller to further seat the rock and to smooth out the rock surface.

“We typically do not sweep up loose rock on the roadway immediately after placement but allow it to remain on the surface until the oil cures sufficiently. We gain further rock capture in the oil through vehicle travel and kneading of the rock on the roadway. Our practice is to sweep up loose rock within two days of placement, with follow-up sweepings a week or two after placement to gather any remaining rock.

“All of our freshly chipped roadways are signed with ‘Loose Gravel’ and ‘Motorcycles Use Caution’ signs. Travelers on these roadways should reduce their speed to prohibit loose rock from flying. Most drivers adhere to these warning signs and, as such, we rarely receive claims for damaged windshields.

“We have not chip sealed Gold Creek yet,” he said. “It is scheduled to be completed later this week, or next. We have completed preparatory work in advance of chip sealing in the form of full depth patching in those areas of significant deterioration, and have pre-leveled some areas of the roadway to correct crown and longitudinal and transverse dips in the roadway.”

I got my erroneous understanding of how the rock is imbedded decades ago while I was a reporter for this paper and Jim’s scolding finally got me to check on whether it was right.

Jacques also addressed Jim’s aside about speed bumps.

“Installation of speed tables/speed bumps on our roadways is only applied in special circumstances, and only after public petition and heavy scrutiny from our traffic engineers. Posted roadway speeds generally must be less than 30 mph, 70 percent of affected property owners must support installation, and an engineering analysis of actual speeds, crash history, law enforcement and fire service input, etc. is completed.

“Other traffic calming countermeasures are implemented in a progressive manner with passive measures installed first and physical devises used if needed. Passive traffic calming measures include signage, pavement markings, trimming excess vegetation, radar signs, traffic law enforcement and public education.”

2 thoughts on “Chip seals don’t rely solely on vehicle traffic to finish the job

  1. Speed bumps could really help here in Gorst! The posted limits of 40 mph is a joke. We take our life in our hands coming to and from our home. The addition of the new motorcycle dealer has made it even worse!!! It has become a racetrack for the new vehicle buyers. They make it through all gears and beyond then are forced to slam on their brakes when they realize that there are driveways and on ramps with merging traffic. All to often the result is the sound of an ambulance. And with the addition of over 2000 new homes coming to the area, it is crazy to think that they are allowing more business growth too.

  2. It’s good to know that chip and seal isn’t solely reliant on traffic. Personally, I think it’s a good way to preserve roads, but I wouldn’t like it with all of that loose gravel. The steel drum that rolls over it probably does a great job pressing those rocks down.

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