City’s Annual Chip Seal Program Begins July 17

City of Missoula Street Operations & Maintenance Division crews will be hard at work applying liquid asphalt and rock chips to city streets as part of the City’s annual Street Maintenance Chip Seal Program, which runs July 17 until around Aug. 7.

Missoula annually seals the surface of about 100 blocks of its streets using the chip seal method.

The liquid asphalt (oil) and chip application process seals the asphalt surface from weather deterioration 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. Since then, the City has sealed most 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 City also chip seals new asphalt one year after installation to start the preservation process from the beginning of the pavement’s life.

The chip seal work will take about three weeks to complete and should wrap up around Aug. 7, weather permitting. Residents can expect slight traffic delays throughout the project areas. Drivers and bicyclists will see loose rock chips left on the streets for two to three weeks to allow time for the chips to imbed in the asphalt. Then, 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 swept up when streets are cleaned.

Street Maintenance Division crews will place barricades on residential streets with on-street parking the day before the chip seal operation starts so that residents are aware of the upcoming work. For a complete list of streets on the chip seal schedule, see our flyer at Weather and/or workload could change the schedule.

Visit the City’s website at, or contact Brian Hensel, Deputy Public Works Director for Streets, at 406-240-2742.