BEND, OR -- Deschutes County has more than 200 miles of gravel roads that require maintenance. County Commissioners heard how a new plan is doing, to improve these mostly rural roadways. Chris Doty, head of the Public Works Department, says between the two most common treatments, the Otta Seal is better suited for the High Desert than traditional grinding. "Grindings, unfortunately, we don't have a big window. In the summer, when it's hot, we're out doing chip sealing. Maybe there's one or two weeks a year that we could bust off and do some grinding projects. So, it doesn't fit into our regime very well. Otta Seal, on the other hand, that's something that can be done early, late and in the middle of the season as well. It does lend itself to something that we're excited about."
Commissioner Alan Unger says the work appears to be improving roads and reducing costs. "My experience is, this is a great idea moving forward, with creating roads that have a better seal and can last longer. And, the trade-off, positively, is we have happy customers - the people who use those roads. Cars hold up better and they can travel faster on those roads, like they do anyway. I think this is a great direction to go."
Doty says how to best pay for the project going forward, possibly getting residents on those roads involved, is still being worked out. "There's always going to be more cost up front. The goal of providing a surface and matching maintenance costs on it appears to be within reach. But, it's that upfront cost that we need to potentially develop into a program where, if you want this you need to put some skin in the game."