Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Summer chip sealing season begins in Big Horn Basin


June 14, 2017

WORLAND — Wyoming Department of Transportation chip sealing crews kicked off their summer work season last week with chip sealing north of Thermopolis and west of Ten Sleep.

Drivers should expect traffic delays of up to 20 minutes, and pilot cars will control speeds through the chip-sealing zone.

Beginning this week, weather permitting, chip sealing is scheduled on 8.25 miles of U.S. 16/20/Wyoming 789 north of Worland the first of the week, according to WYDOT chip sealing foreman Travis Jorgensen of Worland.

When the U.S. 16/20/Wyoming 789 chip sealing is complete, the chip sealing crew is scheduled to move up the road on U.S. 16/20/Wyoming 789 between Manderson and Basin for two days of chip sealing on 8.65 miles. The weather-dependent schedule calls for WYDOT to begin sealing 7.94 miles of U.S. 16/20/Wyoming 789 between Greybull and Basin on June 19-20.

Other roads scheduled for chip sealing by WYDOT maintenance crews include:

-- 7.53 miles of U.S. 14 east of Shell on June 21-22;

-- 6.34 miles of Wyoming 114 between Deaver and Garland on June 26;

-- 4.47 miles of U.S. 14A between Willwood and Powell on June 27;

-- 1.83 miles of U.S. 14A between Cody and Powell on June 28;

-- 4.98 miles of Wyoming 120 between Cody and Meeteetse on June 29;

-- 13.41 miles of Wyoming 296 (Chief Joseph Scenic Highway) July 10-12.

Beginning July 24, weather permitting, the chip sealing effort moves south of Wind River Canyon with 11.56 miles of chip sealing scheduled for July 24-25 on Wyoming 28 between Lander and South Pass. On July 26, chip sealing is scheduled on Wyoming 139 (Sand Draw Spur Road), southeast of Riverton. And on July 27-31, the chip sealing operation will conclude with 17.10 miles of work on Wyoming 135 (Sand Draw Road), southeast of Riverton.

“Please drive carefully and obey reduced speed limits near chip sealing operations,” said WYDOT spokesman Cody Beers. “Crews will be working during the days and into the nights, and safe driving and safe work operations are very important throughout these projects. Please be patient as this important work is being completed.”

“The chip seals will be swept at the end of each day, but some loose rock may still be present. Drivers are asked to slow down in these areas in order to prevent windshield damage after operations have ceased for the day,” Beers said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience.”

Chip sealing is important:

—To seal the pavement surface and keep water from penetrating the road structure on paved surfaces.

—To fill and seal cracks and raveled surfaces of old pavement.

—To provide an anti-glare surface during wet weather and an increased reflective surface for night driving.

—To provide a highly skid-resistant surface, particularly on wet pavements.

—Chip sealing pavements is the least expensive, most cost effective way of preserving asphalt pavements.

It’s important to reduce speeds and watch for workers, Beers said.

Motorists are asked to exercise caution in highway construction projects. Reduced speed limits will be posted, enforced and help keep you safe; leaving home early for work and activities is advised. During the chip seal process, from the time the gravel is placed on the road to when excess rock is swept away, the speed limit is reduced so vehicles should not be damaged by flying rocks.

Traffic moving at higher speeds can create dust, limit visibility, and can cause gravel to break loose from a fresh chip seal which creates the risk of flying rock. Rocks thrown from your tires may crack or break a windshield. Flying rocks may also injure pedestrians, bicycle riders, or motorcyclists.

By driving at slower speeds, you protect your vehicle from unnecessary damage that can be caused by the sprayed asphalt and loose gravel. The slower speed also decreases the chance of damage from rocks which may be thrown up from other vehicles.

WYDOT appreciates your patience during highway improvement efforts, he said.

Beers also reminded drivers around Wyoming that WYDOT makes improvements to state highways during the year which may cause some traffic delays.

“Please be patient. Please allow for the extra time to get to work or other activities. Traveling at the posted construction speed limit in construction zones will ensure your safety and the safety of highway workers. It’s also the law. Traffic fines are doubled in construction zones. Obeying warning signs and flaggers benefits everyone who shares our Wyoming roadways,” he said.


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