City of Missoula Street Division crews begin applying oil and chips to city streets on Monday, July 28, in the City’s annual Chip Seal Street Maintenance Program.

City Street Division Superintendent Brian Hensel explained the importance of chip sealing.

"Chip sealing is one of the most effective asphalt maintenance techniques," Hensel said. "It allows you to cover a very large area at an economical price. It would be like building a new house and then wanted to paint it. It's a similar process where we put down a layer of oil and then we cover the entire surface with three-eighths chips, which provides a friction course which is especially handy in the winter time. It also prevents water and UV deterioration. Chip sealed streets are also more resistant to potholes."

Hensel said the schedule the street division will follow is on the city of Missoula website.

"The list that is on the website is somewhat in the order or progression, in that we don't know if we'll have delays because of weather or other factors," Hensel said. "We post the streets that are to be chip sealed a few days before, and if the vehicles are still on the street, we'll tow them a block or two away."

Hensel asks motorists to drive carefully on the newly chip-sealed streets.

"We're especially asking motorcyclists and bicyclists to be careful, because the chips could pose a hazard," Hensel said. "We will have signs up warning drivers about the dangers of driving on the chips. We also ask people not to spin out on the chips, which will damage the surface, and require repairs."

The project will begin on Monday, July 28 and wrap up on July 31, weather permitting.

City Street Division Superintendent Brian Hensel