‘Chip seal’ upgrades due this fall

Canadian County Commissioners OK contracts for rural road improvements

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District 3 Canadian County Commissioner Jack Stewart (left) with District 3 grader operator Lonnie Lock, who was using a grid roller to compact the road base on Fort Reno Road in preparation for “chip seal” upgrades to 18-1/4 miles on rural roads in western Canadian County. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

EL RENO – A Kansas City, Missouri contractor’s Oklahoma crew is expected to complete “chip seal” upgrades early this fall along sections of seven rural Canadian County roads.
Canadian County Commissioners have approved contracts with paving contractor Vance Brothers, Inc. for two chip seal projects covering 18-1/4 miles in District 3.

Motorists will enjoy “smoother” roads after the work is finished, said District 3 Commissioner Jack Stewart, who hopes the contractor can start in a few weeks.

“They won’t be dodging potholes and we won’t be repairing potholes,” he said. “We are building them wider than they were. They averaged 18 to 19 feet and we’re going to build them all at 22 feet. The extra width will provide more safety.

“There is no alignment change. We have raised the grade on two of the roads in areas that would often be underwater after heavy rains.”

Vance Brothers earned both chip seal paving contracts after submitting bids totaling $245,000, which was about $211,000 below engineer estimates. The next low bidder submitted bids totaling about $346,000.

The chip seal improvements are expected to begin in a couple weeks on: 234th (6-1/2 miles), Walbaum (two sections totaling 5-1/4 miles), Darlington (3 miles), Fort Reno (1-1/2 miles), Jones (1-1/4 mile), Karns (1/2 mile), and Niles (1/4 mile). Many of these roads are well traveled and in dire need of resurfacing.

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WHY USE CHIP SEAL?

Commissioner Stewart, of Yukon, explained the benefits of the chip seal method on these rural roads.

“When a road gets cracks in it from expansion, weather and heavy traffic, it seals the road,” Stewart said.

“It does not add any strength to it at all. But if you can keep moisture from getting into the base, the road will stay strong.

“When the water migrates into the base material, you start getting potholes and larger cracks. So this seals it and sheds the water into the ditches – where it belongs – and not filtrate down into the road bed.”

Vance Brothers, which has an office in Oklahoma City, will complete the roadwork in western Canadian County.

“They did a lot of work for the City of El Reno last summer, and from my understanding they did a really, really good job,” Stewart said.

“The reason they bid so low is their Oklahoma crew is currently in Louisiana and they wanted to bring them home.

“They probably will be able to complete the work in one to two weeks. Chip seal goes fast when you have everything ready to go. They can probably do two to three miles a day, easy.”

Another contractor, SWH Construction, has done the road grinding and District 3 crews have helped with grading, compacting and other pre-work in preparation for the chip seal.