The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is going to be chip sealing several Kodiak roads over the coming weeks. Starting out at the end of Monashka Bay Road, road crews will work their way toward town.
DOT crews can finish up to four miles of road per day, but they’ll only be working on one-mile sections at a time. During that time, parking will be restricted on the section of road they’re working on. Flagger systems will also be set up to help drivers navigate in road work sections, though no detours are expected.
The list of roads that will be chip sealed over the next few weeks includes:
- Monashka Bay Road
- Rezanof Drive from Caroline Street to Monashka Bay Road
- Rezanof Drive from Cope Street to Anton Larson Bay Road
- Cut Off Road
- Island Lake Road
- Melnitsa Lane
- Mission Road
- Neva Way
- Spruce Cape Road
- Belika Lane
- Benny Benson Drive
Marcus Zimmerman, maintenance and operations specialist at DOT says chip sealing is a preventative measure to improve the longevity of roads facing normal wear and tear. In Alaska, “normal wear and tear” means everything from wet weather causing water to seep into asphalt cracks to studded tires tearing the surface of the road.
“What we’re trying to do is catch roads that are in good condition or just going into a fair-type condition category,” Zimmerman says. “We’re trying to catch them before they get into the fair, or if they make it to the poor category, then they’re not a good candidate for a chip seal and we need to do a more expensive reconstruction project at that time.”
Roads that are already deteriorating, or have potholes, are not good candidates for a chip seal, says Zimmerman. So for instance, the section of road from the Y downtown to the stoplight on Rezanof is too far gone to repair with just chip sealing. But DOT says that section is on their list for more extensive repair within the next couple years.
Here’s what’s involved with the process: the crews will sweep the road surface, then spray on a layer of emulsified asphalt, which is a sticky, black, tar-like coating that helps seal in all the existing cracks. Then they cover that up with a layer of fractured rock — that’s the new road surface. Weather permitting, a painting crew will come by shortly afterward to add new center stripes and edge markers to the road, but in the meantime Zimmerman cautions drivers that there won’t be any markers to designate lanes.
“It’s very weather dependent so we have to wait for good weather,” He says. Dry day, sunny day is the best, and as warm of temperatures as you can.”
Crews will periodically sweep the refinished roads to eliminate loose rock, but Zimmerman also says people should be careful about driving too quickly on chip sealed surfaces for a few weeks after they’re done. Loose bits of rock can go flying, and there’s always the risk drivers might crack a windshield.
Depending on the weather, the road work might take up to six weeks. This project is 90 percent federally funded, with the remaining 10 percent of funding coming from the state.
Residents with questions about the road work can contact Zimmerman at (907) 465-4655.