Public reminded to drive with caution over newly chip sealed roads

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Public Works Department  • Richard H. Hansen Transportation & Public Works Complex
4787 Midway Road, Duluth, MN 55811 • Phone: (218) 625-3830

James T. Foldesi, P.E.
Public Works Director/Highway Engineer




July 18, 2017

MEDIA CONTACT: Ross Benedict, Engineering Technician 


Drivers reminded to use caution on newly chip sealed roads

St. Louis County Public Works is doing preventative maintenance - applying a chip seal or scrub seal - on a number of county roads this week. It's a relatively low cost way to extend a road's life. But motorists need to remember to use caution on these roads while the seal sets.


Crews are chip sealing or scrub sealing more than a dozen roads throughout the County including portions of:

  • Stebner Road and Airport Approach Road in Hermantown
  • Vaux Road, Dunaiski Road, Pike Lane and Samuelson  Road in Canosia Township
  • Caribou Lake Road and Helm Road in Grand Lake Township
  • Old Highway 33 (CSAH 113) in Brevator Township
  • Vermilion Trail (CSAH 4) near Biwabik
  • Ely Lake Drive (CSAH 96) and Miller Trunk Road (CSAH 132) in Fayal Township
  • Cedar Island Drive (CR 629) in Eveleth
  • Long Lake Road (CSAH 108) in Unorganized Township 56-16 south of Biwabik

Many of these roads were resurfaced within the last 18 to 24 months. Research has shown that applying a chip seal within three years - and the earlier the better - of a road being paved helps a road last an additional 10 to 15 years. The chip seal protects the asphalt from chemicals, salt, the sun, and other elements. Scrub seals are applied to older pavements to further extend their life cycle.


The county uses a two-part process for chip sealing. First is an application of oil and rock. This aggregate - basically small rocks - is continuously compacted by traffic while the oil emulsion cures. Weather conditions such as wind, rain, humidity and sun, affect how long this takes. The second phase is the fog seal application, which eliminates loose aggregate from that point on. It also assists in reducing damage to the road by snow plows. 

It's during that time between the two phases, while the aggregate is being compacted, that motorists are urged to slow down and leave more space between vehicles to minimize the chances of damage, such as from small rock chips hitting windshields.

Chip sealing and scrub sealing are key techniques for preserving the quality of St. Louis County's vast infrastructure, which includes 1,500 miles of paved roads. Long term studies have proven it to be a safer and more cost effective solution for tax payers than to have to rebuild a deteriorated road more frequently.

St. Louis County Public Works is responsible for maintaining 3,000 miles of paved and gravel roads and 600 bridges. To learn more, visit or call 218-625-3830.

Chip sealing 1
Crews apply a chip seal on Howard Gnesen Road (County State Aid Highway 34) - one of about a dozen roads in the county being treated with this preventive mainenance technique.

Chip seal 2
Crews apply a chip seal on Howard Gnesen Road (County State Aid Highway 34). Motorists are reminded to slow down and allow more distance between vehicles when driving on recently chip sealed roads.