Day by Day Cartoon by Chris Muir

Friday, June 2, 2017

Email to the RocK County highway department

I am a motorcycle rider, bicycle rider, and owner of several classic cars.

Recently, County D and Q near my home were chip-sealed. This involves spraying an asphalt coating on the road and then dumping fine gravel on the asphalt. An attempt is reportedly made to compact the gravel with some sort of roller.

The result of this treatment is a road covered in, essentially, ball bearings, until traffic blows them to the shoulder, where they present a tempting place for bicyclists to wipe out. On the road proper, especially at intersections, the loose gravel is a real hazard to motorcyclists. Personally, I wiped out at Town Line Road and Creek last year on loose gravel in the intersection, after stopping for the sign there. Luckily I was not injured, nor was my bike damaged, but I came close to being run over by an approaching motorist who couldn't see me lying on the road before crossing the railroad tracks just north of the intersection.

That gravel was caused by trucks and cars making tight turns onto the shoulder, and was cleaned up by the Clinton road crews after I called in the hazard a few times. In the case of this "chip sealing", I see no benefit to the public, as most the gravel is thrown off to the shoulder almost immediately, and the remainder is just a hazard to drivers and bikers who need to make turns across the loose stuff.

According to the state DOT web site, chip sealing is supposed to be followed by sweeping after a few days. It's been a couple of weeks now, and the gravel is still there, presenting risks to all who use the roads. In addition, the center lines and no-passing zone markings have been obliterated.

When can we expect a clean-up crew and paint crews out to remedy these issues?

Chuck Kuecker

The only benefit I can see to "chip sealing" is profits to the people selling asphalt and gravel, and the employees running the machinery.

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