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Sat, Oct 25, 2014 05:11 PM
Issue of October 22, 2014
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County abandons chip & seal method

July 30, 2014 | 09:43 AM

In a move that will no doubt bring joy to many Harrison County residents, the chip and seal method of road improvement will no longer be used by the Harrison County Highway Dept. after it was applied last year to a number of county roads.

Commissioner Kenny Saulman said there may still be instances at the end of the year when funding dries up that a road may be chip and sealed, but it's use as a main road improvement method has come to an end.

The Indiana Dept. of Transportation, which controls all state roads in the county, will continue with its chip and seal program. State roads 62 and 64 have recently been chipped and sealed within the county.

The county made a move to chip and seal last year in an effort to reduce spending and avoid the depletion of the department's savings because of a continual shortfall in the motor-vehicle highway fund (as much as $400,000 in 2008).

Approximately 192 miles of county road was chipped and sealed last year.

But, because of numerous calls and visits from displeased residents, the department decided to put a stop to the chip and seal method, engineer Kevin Russel said.

Chip and seal is the most common and cheapest form of pavement preservation. It uses the same ingredients as asphalt concrete paving, but the construction method is different. With chip seals, a thin film of heated asphalt liquid is sprayed on the road surface followed by the placement of small chips or aggregate. The chips are then compacted to orient the chips for maximum adherence to the asphalt and excess stone is swept from the surface. Chip and sealing increases friction, prevents aging, seals cracks and waterproofs the roadway.

"By including chip seal/fog seal and rejuvenating fog seal in our program, we generate more service life each year than we lose, and our overall pavement condition will improve over time," Russel said last year while promoting the methods. "If we were to use all the funding we used in 2013 for HMA (hot mix asphalt) paving only, we would lose more service life each year than new gain and our overall pavement condition would decline over time."

Complaints to the highway department — and to this newspaper through Live Wire and online comments — include the wear and tear on tires, the loud noise produced by driving on recently chipped and sealed roads and the difficulty to fully clear the road from snow and ice. Some folks also said the condition of the road/roads before the chip and seal was better than after, and, the asphalt liquid makes its way onto vehicles and is difficult to wash off. Many of these complaints stemmed from the state road chip and seal projects.

Russel said the county will continue with its fog seal and rejuvenate program.

Twitter: @TCD_ross

  1. print email
    July 31, 2014 | 11:22 AM

    There were only 38 miles chip sealed in 2013, not 192.

    Kevin Russel
  2. print email
    hwy 135 north
    July 31, 2014 | 04:50 PM

    What is going to be done about 135 outside of New Salisbury toward Corydon where they have put strips of pavement making the road rough and hard on your vehicle.

    Kelly Niehaus
  3. print email
    August 01, 2014 | 08:44 AM

    38 miles? Surely you are meaning roads the county is responsible for. Just counting S.R. 62 would take up 1/3 of that amount at least.

  4. print email
    SR 135
    August 01, 2014 | 09:56 AM

    SR 135 is maintained by the state DOT. You could contact them at 812-524-3720.

    Kevin Russel
  5. print email
    August 01, 2014 | 03:14 PM

    Good decision on stopping the "chip and seal", I thought we had went back in time on paving our highways, all I had talked to about this method were against it

  6. print email
    Chip and seal
    August 02, 2014 | 09:54 AM

    Now that they've decided that enough money has been WASTED on this chip & seal that no body likes. What's it gonna take to remove/ cover the crap that has already been applied ?

    Joseph Mckim
  7. print email
    Chip and seal???!!!
    August 03, 2014 | 07:51 AM

    We are presently in planning a lawsuit because of the damage (excessive tar underneath and on the sides of our autos) to our cars (body shop est. around $2,000.00)!! Really don't want to do this but until our elected officials and private contractors are held accountable for their decisions and actions they will continue to be a loose cannon and will continue down the road of "NO COMMON SENSE"!!!

  8. print email
    August 04, 2014 | 08:36 AM

    I had a set of tires that would normally last 3-4 yrs lasted 1.5 yrs. thanks Harrison County DOT.

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