Chip Seal Program

Public Works is responsible for the improvement, maintenance, and preservation of the county’s roadways, bridges, water and sewer utilities, parks, trails, drainage systems, and solid waste. Keeping up with Thurston County’s growing population and aging infrastructure requires constant planning and construction activities.

Learn more about chip seal on our contractor's website 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What area is included in the 2019 Contract?

The greatest portion of roads this year are in the Northwest section of the county, predominantly Steamboat Island & Cooper Point area. You can see the complete list HERE

What is the purpose of a chip seal?

A chip sealed sureface typically adds seven or more years of life to an asphalt surface. Plus, it applies a traction surface to make travel safer when the surface is wet or frosty.

Chip seal makes the roads rougher for bicycles and skateboarding.

Roads are designed for vehicle travel.They should not be considered play areas. Bike lanes & sidewalks are rarely treated with chip seal,

I got some oil on my car after driving on a freshly chip sealed road. What can I do?

Traveling under 25MPH on a treated road will lessen oil and rock spray. However, if you do get some oil on your car, it is easily removed by pouring a small amount of diesel oil, or a citrus-based solvent on a cloth and rubbing the area.

How long will the road be closed?

Typically, roads are open to single lane travel during the process. If the weather is not too warm, the newly treated lane is open to travel within 30 minutes following completion of the initial rolling. The lowered speed limit of 25 MPH will remain until the road has been swept and striped. This generally occurs within two days to a week.

What if I need to get out of my driveway?

You can be assisted safely out of your driveway in an emergency by contacting one of the crew. This will let them make sure that you don't run into on-coming traffic. You can also contact the project inspectors by phone, if you cannot flag one down.

When will the 25MPH speed limit be lifted?

Once the roads have been swept to remove excess material, and roadway markings have been reapplied, the speed limit will return to the normally posted speed. This is typically with a week.

Tips for driving on new chipseal:

  • Keeping your speed below 25 MPH will drastically reduce rock spray. This will help to avoid chips from thrown gravel.
  • Increase your following distance.
  • Inrease your braking distance. Loose gravel (before the road has been swept) can increase the probabilty of skidding when coming to a stop.
  • Slowly increase speed from a stop. Spinning your tires not only removes the rock from the road, but it also decreases tire life.

The road is ugly now!!

Over time, the "new" look of the chipseal will wear down, and as traffic passes the rock and oil will combine to return the road to it's normal color, and smoothness.