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Summer chip seal project on Oregon 140

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More than 50 miles of Oregon 140 from White City to Klamath Falls is scheduled to undergo chip seal preservation in mid-July. The project will also cover sections of U.S. 97 near La Pine and Oregon 31 near Paisley.

The chip seal process is fairly simple. Liquid asphalt is mixed with about 30 percent water and sprayed onto the road surface. A layer of crushed gravel is then applied by a spreader. The gravel is compacted and embedded into the asphalt with rubber-tired rollers. Traffic helps provide additional compaction. After a curing period (usually about two days), the loose gravel is swept on off the surface.

“Chip seals are a relatively low cost way to preserve pavement,” said ODOT Project Manager Tom Feeley. “They cost about 20 percent less than normal pavement overlays. However, weather conditions must be ideal: hot and dry.”

Feeley said summer travelers can expect a two-mile work zone with flaggers and pilot cars providing traffic control. The chip seal will cover from fog line to fog line since many bicyclists use the smoother shoulder of Oregon 140.

The work zone will have a 35 mph speed limit to reduce dust and flying rocks, which can cause vehicle and windshield damage.

“Drivers need to do their part to make the project a success,” said Feeley. “Drivers not following the rules cause problems like dust, limited visibility and flying rocks.”

You can watch a video of the chip seal process online at

« Back to the May 2017 edition