It’s an annual ritual.
Barton County Road and Bridge Department crews tackle overlaying and sealing a portion of the county’s nearly 400 miles of paved blacktops. This year’s campaign began three weeks ago.
The focus for 2017 is the southeast and south central parts of the county. Right at 100 miles will be sand sealed and, of that, 45-50 will receive a compete asphalt overlay.
The roads will remain open during most of the work, but motorists could see some traffic delays.
The work starts with the overlay, said Road and Bridge’s John Remmert. Crews can lay up to 2 miles per day, but this depends on the weather as cooler temperatures and rain hinder the effort. The overlaying will take through the end of the summer.
Next, the sand sealing will begin, starting with the hand patching of pot holes and cracks. A layer of hot oil is then sprayed onto the roads, followed by a layer of sand/gravel (this includes the miles that were overlaid) then this mixture is rolled.
The final step for the county is to “broom” the newly sealed roads, Remmert said. Big, rolling brooms are used to sweep away any excess gravel.
The sealing work will extend into the fall. After that, the county will contract with a firm to come in and paint striping on the roads.
In all, $1.8 million will be spent on 35,000 tons of cold-mix asphalt and oil.
Remmert said the number of miles being done this year is about average. Crude oil prices have been lower in recent years, meaning the cost of the oil used for roads has also come down, meaning more miles can be covered.