By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The old surface of Route 837 in Dravosburg was easily giving way to PennDOT’s milling machine Tuesday in preparation for fresh asphalt on Wednesday.

It’s a process that has become the exception.

“Seal coat is an essential tool in our tool box,” PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna said.

This has become the rule and was once referred to as tar-and-chipping.

“The reality is right now, we are very limited in our resources in all of our counties,” Cessna said.

One advantage with seal coating is that it is very cost effective.

“It costs about $11,000 per mile to sealcoat a roadway and it can cost upward of [$500,000] to resurface that roadway,” Cessna said.

This year in Allegheny Beaver and Lawrence Counties, 39 miles of road will be repaved, while 278 miles are seal coated.

If you do the math, that’s $18.5 million in paving and just over $3 million in seal coating.

However, seal coating on lesser traveled roads would have happened anyway.

“We are, however, sealing some higher volume roadways where the preferred treatment would be an asphalt resurfacing,” Cessna said.

Places like Ferguson, and Babcock Roads have already been treated. Montour Run, Beaver Grade, Fox Chapel and Church Hollow are on the list of 77 that will get a seal coat finish.

“If we don’t do something to the roadways, it’s simply going to turn into potholes,” Cessna said.

Despite rolling the gravel into the oil, there is still an initial day or two of loose gravel. PennDOT sweeps, but they can’t get all the loose material.

“The reality is there is still damage that occurs each day to motorists’ windows and things like that,” Cessna said.

To avoid damage to your car, PennDOT suggests slowing down and leaving more distance between you and the car in front of you for the first couple of days after your road is seal coated.


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