Chip sealing season in Lewis & Clark County

HELENA – It's officially chip sealing season in Lewis and Clark County. They have started work on resurfacing several roads throughout the county. 


Chip sealing has a lot of formulas to it, and one of the critical components is road temperature, that's why it is done in the summer.

About every seven years, Lewis and Clark County will hire contractors who will spray oil and lay clean, small fractured rock over the top of roadways to create a new surface. This process helps take out the surface deformation and really extends the longevity of the roads. 

"It goes through and seals up those smaller cracks we can't see, and it really extends the life of the pavement. We've some that are pushing 40 plus years of life,” said Dan Karlin, the County Engineer. 

All though chip sealing is done in the summer, it plays a critical part when it comes to winter driving. It adds a friction surface to the roads to help with ice and snow. But it can also cause damage to driver's vehicles, due to the small fractured rock laying on top of the roadway. 

"While that oil is curing and before it can get swept, that rock is loose. The more you can do to slow down and take your time going across these roads the better off you'll be. You won't throw rocks into other motorists," said Karlin. 

The work is expected to wrap up by September, and the county urges drivers to slow down through construction zones, pay attention to traffic signs and watch out for construction workers. 

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