2018-08-02 / Local News

Sealcoating keeping Rd. Comm. crews busy

By Jen Murphy
of the Enterprise staff

Summer is often dubbed “road construction season.” That is certainly true for Leelanau County.

“This has been an exciting and productive month as we are starting to see all of our planning efforts come to fruition during our short and busy construction season,” Leelanau County Road Commission director Dan Wagner wrote in his most recent report. “All of the hours spent working on budgets, prioritizing projects, bidding materials/services, making ready equipment, and organizing our crews and physical resources is finally paying off. I think seeing the physical tangible results for your efforts and feeling rewarded is what attracts most anyone to a construction related field.”

Leelanau County Road Commission (LCRC) crews have been hard at work repairing and resealing county roads over the past few weeks.

The majority of the work that has been completed is sealcoating sections of damaged roadway. Sealcoating is a process repairs major defects in the pavement surface and seals cracks to prevent water from getting in. This process is used instead of repaving because it is more cost effective.

“We can sealcoat four to five times as many miles of road as we can pave with hot mixed asphalt for an equivalent cost. This cost differential to pave a mile of road versus sealcoat is an increase of roughly $100,000,” he wrote.

Wagner said many people have asked why crews only pave the outside edges of some roads. “This technique is called ‘wedging’ and it is done to correct deficiencies on the outer edge of the road surface which is usually where the failures occur,” he said. “Our crews will be coming back over these roads that have been wedged and applying a sealcoat. We wedge roads that are otherwise structurally sound, save for the outside edges. It greatly reduces our cost for preserving the pavement, rather than simply repaving it.”

Sealcoating projects will likely wrap up by the end of the month, according to Wagner.

“When time is available, our crews have been keeping up with the unpleasant task of policing yard signs which seem to pop out like dandelions this time of the year,” Wagner said. “Yard signs are not allowed within the right of way which typically measures 66 feet on most roads, 33 feet either side from the centerline. Yard signs can be distracting to drivers and we routinely hear from residents who rightfully feel they clutter up our beautiful scenery. This time of the year they are especially troublesome for our crews as they are performing roadside mowing.”

Along with roadwork on the peninsula, the LCRC staff and board toured county roads on S. Manitou Island. They found everything was in good order, said Wagner.

A backup power generator is being installed at the LCRC main facility in Suttons Bay. “Once completed, it will provide us enough power for our entire operation should we lose primary power,” Wagner said.

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