Missoula’s Annual Chip Seal Program at Work

City of Missoula Street Division crews are hard at work applying oil and chips to city streets in the City’s annual Chip Seal Street Maintenance Program July 22 through Aug. 8.

Missoula annually seals the surface of about 100 blocks of its streets using the chip seal method. This year, the work will cover about 120 blocks.

The oil and chip seals the asphalt surface from weather erosion and extends the life of the pavement in the same way as painting a home protects it. Sealing streets delays reconstruction, reduces the number of potholes and saves dollars and disruption for Missoula’s residents. The City initiated this annual program in 1987. In the 32 years of the street maintenance program, the City has sealed a majority of the eligible streets and has started the next phase of street preservation by returning to many of the streets sealed and protected early in the program.

The chip seal project takes two to three weeks to complete and should wrap up on Aug. 8, weather permitting. Expect slight traffic delays throughout the project. Drivers and cyclists will see loose chip rock left on the streets for two to three weeks, when street sweepers will clean up the chips. Motorcyclists and bicyclists should go slowly during this period to avoid sliding. For the next year, the street will have a rough surface due to the rock chips and will also have some loose rock that will be cleaned up when streets are cleaned.

Street Division crews will place barricades on streets with on-street parking in advance of the chip seal operation. The streets benefiting from this year’s chip seal surfacing are listed in our chip seal flyer in the tentative order in which they will be completed. Weather and/or workload could change the schedule.

Questions? Please contact:
Brian Hensel, Deputy Public Works Director for Streets
240-2742, bhensel@ci.missoula.mt.us