Weather’s perfect for street work
It’s hot, it’s dry and it’s perfect weather for chipsealing streets.
For the next few weeks, city of Grand Junction road maintenance crews will undergo the task in an effort to prolong the roads’ service lives. The effort is part of an program that puts chipseal on streets in different parts of the city each year.
“We divided the city up into 12 maintenance areas, so every 12 years we’ll service an area,” said Darren Starr, manager of street systems and solid waste for the city.
This year, streets from North Avenue to Grand Avenue and First Street to 29 Road will be serviced. The chipsealing project began July 8 and will continue until mid-August.
Hot, dry weather is ideal for chipsealing because it helps speed up the process by drying out the oils quickly, which is why residents can expect chipsealing in different areas of the city each summer.
Chipseal is a thin layer of new, small rocks spread over a fresh coat of asphalt, also referred to as oil. Approximately seven days following the chipseal, a fogseal will be applied. Fogseal is a thinner asphalt applied to help set the rock and make the pavement black again. Once fogseal has been applied, the roads can be driven on almost immediately.
The entire process will add five to seven years to the life of a street and will provide a safe, skid-resistant surface — not to mention it saves a lot more money than reconstructing a road.
Chipsealing a street costs about $1.50 a yard versus the $25 a yard it costs to reconstruct a street, Starr said.
“Ongoing maintenance is so important,” Starr said.
In an effort to streamline the process, city employees will notify residents that their street will be chipsealed by placing door hangers on homes and putting signs up in the street a few days beforehand. The city asks that residents not park on the streets when they are supposed to be serviced.
Roads will not close entirely during the process. The high-traffic, two-lane roads will still have one lane open at a time. Fogsealing will happen at night so as to not disturb the flow of traffic too much, but chipsealing has to occur during the heat of the day. But, even changes in the weather will not stop the project.
“If it rains, we don’t change our schedule. We just play catch-up at the end,” Starr said.
Residents may notice that First Street will remain unchanged and that’s because it may be getting a complete reconstruction within the next few years, Starr said.
The city plans to have all the streets completed, crosswalks finished and roads painted before school starts in these high-volume traffic areas.
“We understand it’s frustrating for residents,” Starr said. “If you can stay out of it, do. But if you can’t, please be patient with us. We’re trying to improve the streets we all use.”
A detailed schedule of the chipseal program can be found on the city of Grand Junction’s website, at gjcity.org.