GOLD BAR — Some spots along U.S. 2 are melting down due to heat and heavy traffic.
Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews have been putting chip seal on certain sections of the highway that get rutted before the road is due to be repaved.
The chip seal was applied as a temporary fix along nearly eight miles of U.S. 2 from east of Monroe to Gold Bar. But the hot weather and heavy traffic during the weekend of June 7 caused a failure of the seal, said Chris Johnson, a WSDOT maintenance and operations manager.
“Basically, that’s the worst thing you can do to the asphalt,” he said.
The heat combined with pressure from hot tires rolling on top of the road caused the oil in the asphalt to move to the top and the rocks settle at the bottom. It left holes on the surface of U.S. 2 in the westbound lanes near Gold Bar and Startup.
Crews have put sand down to absorb the oil until they can work on a more permanent fix, Johnson said.
The state plans to start grinding out the chip seal and laying new asphalt on July 6.
The work is expected to take two days and cost about $25,000, Johnson said. It is planned during the middle of the week to limit traffic delays.
“Maintenance is trying to hold the road until we can get to our regular project,” Johnson said.
The roads are usually repaved every 15 to 20 years, he said. If repairs are needed in the meantime, crews use tools, such as the chip seal to get by.
Johnson said the chip seal has held in other areas of the state, even with warm weather and heavy traffic. The spots on U.S. 2 are the only areas with this particular problem, he said.
Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org.