Advice for residents who are getting chip seal on their streets

Sunday, July 22, 2012

updated 07-22-2012 5:39pm
By Diane Hettrick

Lake Forest Park just announced they are chip sealing 55th NE from 193rd to 204th. Shoreline will be chip sealing streets in two neighborhoods this summer (North City and Ballinger) after completing one neighborhood (Echo Lake) last year. Mountlake Terrace has been chip sealing its streets for years.

Chip sealing is an extremely economical and durable method of finishing streets. Even with both cities using the triple layer method (see previous article) instead of cutting corners, they can still lay eight miles of chip seal for the cost of a half mile of asphalt (current costs may vary).

However, after the experience in Shoreline last year, and soliciting feedback from residents who lived with the process, I have some advice for residents whose streets will be refinished in this method.

First of all, it is a three step process, and the layers have to cure before the next layer can be applied. How fast the layers cure depend on the weather. The chip seal process is timed for the hottest weather, but the assumption is that the weather will last several days, not just several hours.

A street newly finished with chip seal
Do everything the city tells you to. It may be annoying to have to park your car around the corner, but do it. You run the risk of being towed in LFP if you don't move before the scheduled time, but if you drive on an uncured surface, you may have tiny bits of black gravel on the underside of your car.

Do not let your dog (sheep, chickens, goats, etc.) walk on it, even when it is ok to drive on it. The loose stuff (and it seems to take a long time to go away) will stick in the dog's pads and come off on your rugs.

Be assured that Public Works will be cruising the streets to look for cracks, potholes, and other problem spots, so they can fix them before the chip seal goes down. Staff are good, but don't assume they can see everything. If you know about a problem spot on your street, call the City and tell them. For example, a low spot that always collects rain water and run-off may not be obvious in dry weather.


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