Matt Phelps Fay Lim
Communications Specialist II Communications Supervisor
2022 Paving and Chip Seal programs preserve county roads and save tax dollars
EVERETT, Wash., May 26, 2022 – Wear and tear is a natural byproduct for surfaces that incur heavy traffic, harsh weather, and multi-ton vehicles driving on them day after day. Also, whether it is from snow and ice, flooding, or a natural breakdown during decades of use; roads can begin to crumble if not properly maintained. Snohomish County uses best practice methods to plan the maintenance and preservation of its more than 1,600 miles of roads to help keep rides smooth and safe for drivers. This year, Snohomish County Public Works is improving more than 90 miles of county roads during its annual road resurfacing programs.
“We evaluate the unincorporated Snohomish County roads and then develop and maintain a multi-year plan to preserve them in the most cost-effective way,” Snohomish County Engineer Doug McCormick said. “We will pave approximately 6 miles of road with asphalt through our Paving Program and pre-level and/or chip seal approximately 84 miles of road as part of our Chip Seal Program.”
As part of the pre-level work, crews will patch potholes and improve uneven or failing pavement prior to completing the chip seal work. Chip sealing extends the life of the road surface for an additional seven to 10 years, saving the county money as the cost is about one-third of asphalt overlay.
This year’s paving work will take place between May and October. Where applicable, sidewalk ramps will be upgraded to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. The Paving Program focuses on preserving pavement while it is still in fair condition by placing a new layer of asphalt over the existing one. If a road has too much distress, crews will first grind off 1-2 inches before placing the new layer. A typical paved road has a serviceable life of 15-30 years depending upon location, traffic volumes, weather, and truck or heavy vehicle usage. The work will be completed by paving contractors and county crews.
Chip Seal Program
Pre-leveling work began in April, while chip sealing work will begin in July. Snohomish County Road Maintenance crews began pre-leveling work in the southeast areas of the county and are working their way north and west. In July, crews will transition to applying chip seals following the same pattern as pre-leveling. Chip sealing is expected to be completed by late September.
Once the chips are pressed into place by rollers, the road is re-opened to traffic. A temporary speed limit of 20 miles per hour will be in effect for the week following the chip seal placement. Adherence to this temporary speed limit will minimize the likelihood of loose, flying chips causing damage to a vehicle’s body or windshield and allow the chips to bind to the asphalt. Crews will return within a week to sweep up any loose chips and replace pavement striping.
Both chip seal and paving are weather-dependent work and all preliminary schedules are subject to change.
2022 work is scheduled for the following unincorporated areas of Snohomish County:
Number of Road Locations
For more information about the Paving Program or Chip Seal Program and maps of the identified roads, visit www.snohomishcountywa.gov/Resurfacing.
Snohomish County Public Works is responsible for approximately 1,600 miles of county roads, more than 200 bridges and manages about 200 traffic control signals. The department also processes nearly 600,000 tons of garbage per year. Its mission is to focus on safety and mobility while practicing fiscal responsibility and preserving the environment. Public Works has won numerous state and national honors for its work and is the largest department within Snohomish County government with approximately 500 employees plus seasonal staff. Its main office is located at 3000 Rockefeller Ave., Everett, WA 98201. Visit www.snohomishcountywa.gov/PublicWorks for more information about Snohomish County Public Works.