Q. What is a chip seal?
A. A chip seal is a coating of liquid asphalt and rock chips applied to the existing roadway to extend the life of the pavement. There are four steps in the chip sealing process – applying an oil patch to the most degraded areas, putting down the chip seal, sweeping up excess rock chips and fog sealing (applying a thin coat of asphalt on top of the chip seal).
Q. Why was my street chosen?
A. Though your street is in basically sound condition, it needs routine maintenance to protect it. Chip sealing, which is effective for 7-10 years, stops water from seeping through the surface and damaging the pavement and road base. It costs less to apply chip seal to the street surface than to fix the street base if it is damaged.
Q. How long does the process take?
A. Once oil patches are applied, they are allowed to cure for one-two weeks before the chip seal is added. The sweeping and fog sealing are done as soon as possible after the chip seal, usually within 1-2 days based upon weather and the availability of work crews. While the surface can be driven or walked on at any stage, after the process is complete it takes about two weeks before the chip seal is firmly set.
Q. What if it rains?
A. If it is raining or if rain is in the forecast, we will assign our crews to other work for the day. Chip seal must go on a dry surface. That is also why we ask that you make sure any sprinklers are turned off beginning at midnight the night before the chip seal work is scheduled.
Q. How will I know when the work will begin?
A. You will receive a notice at your door a few days ahead of time. If it does rain, work may be delayed.
Q. What about parking my car?
A. Please move your car off the street from the time the chip sealing begins to the completion of the fog sealing process – a period of approximately 2-3 days. You will always be able to drive through the area, but the entire street surface must be available for the work crews. Please also let family, friends and delivery people know not to park their vehicle on the street during that time period. If a vehicle is left on the street, we try to find the owner, but delays cost tax money. Therefore, cars not moved by the time the work begins will be towed at the owner's expense. If your car is towed, contact the Sheriff's Office, (503) 655-8441.
Q. How will I know when the work is completed?
A. The street will be open for traffic and parking after the fog seal is complete. All loose rock chips will be gone and the pavement will have a new, black asphalt coating.
For more information, contact the Transportation Maintenance Department at (503) 557-6391.