BEND, OR -- This summer’s unusually mild weather is causing problems for Deschutes County road crews trying to get chip sealing done before fall. "We need good weather – good summer weather – to chip seal," says County Roads Director Chris Doty, "And, it’s been fits and starts." He says even a few sprinkles can derail a day of work, "We’ve been in Sisters a little bit last week and a few days this week, and it’s been, as I said, ‘fits and starts.’ With our chip seal process, we need hot, dry weather and it’s been hard to get good stretches of that this summer." He adds, "So, we’ve been bouncing around, kind of chasing open patches of sky, to get the chip seal work done."
But, Doty tells KBND News, they're not giving up, "Right now, we’ll be pivoting into Deschutes River Woods, here, in the next few days and throughout the next week, to do quite a few road segments in that subdivision." The chip seal process is used to rejuvenate the top layer of roads with a fresh coat of asphalt, to prolong the life of a road through bad weather.
Doty says the timeframe to do the work is short; chip sealing season must end by the end of August to guarantee the asphalt has time to cure before cold weather returns. "We had a pretty aggressive schedule, this year – upwards of 100 miles of county roads to be chip sealed. We’re going to fall short of that. We’ve been pushed off from some areas and we’ve lost all of the float that we placed in our chip seal schedule, and so we’ll probably finish at least 10 miles short of our goal this year." But, he's confident the work will get done eventually, "In terms of road maintenance, it’s a marathon and not a sprint; so we will catch up next year, for sure."