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Road Commission of Kalamazoo County to chip seal 100 miles of road to extend years of life

Chip Seal for Roads in Kalamazoo County
Posted at 4:57 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 23:10:04-04

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — As the warmer weather hits, construction has begun on roads throughout the state.

In Kalamazoo County, the road commission is focusing on preserving them and extending the life.

There are around 100 miles of road in Kalamazoo County that will be chip sealed this summer, sealing the surface of the existing pavement and extending its life.

"It is a tool we use to preserve the roads that are already intact, so those good condition roads, those fair condition roads. We are going to use this technique on those to preserve that life cycle," said the Road Commission of Kalamazoo County Communications Administrator Elli Blonde.

Chip sealing isn't a new technique, but in Kalamazoo County, they're using it in full force as preventative maintenance.

"This stretches the taxpayer dollar pretty significantly. We see about six to 10 extra service years of life when we do this technique," said Blonde.

The Road Commission of Kalamazoo said the chip seal technique is used on roads that have recently been reconstructed, paired with other techniques to "freeze it in time".

The process is simple and quick. A layer of emulsion goes over the road and then stone or aggregate is laid down. In addition, they also use another seal over the top called a "fog seal".

"It is a moving operation which makes it very interesting. We don’t have to close the road down when we do this. We do it a lane at a time or sometimes a lane and a half at a time," said Blonde.

To break down the numbers, the road commission will use around 550,000 gallons of emulsion and around 15,000 tons of stone to cover about 100 miles of road.

The chip seal costs around $25,000 per mile versus reconstruction which can cost anywhere between $250,000 to $500,000.

"Every road is going to have to be reconstructed at some point, but it is a matter of much life of it, good life too because we don’t want poor quality roads around," said Blonde.

The chip sealing is scheduled to begin in Kalamazoo County on June 7.

For a full list of streets that will be impacted, click here.