8 Reasons Why Tar and Chip Seal Paving Is Used for Roadways

Tar and Chip Roadways.  Eight Reasons Why Tar and Chip Seal Paving Is Used for Roadways

Wondering why your township didn’t go with blacktop?

Every day, thousands of new roads are being paved all over the world. It’s likely that there has even been some road construction in your area recently!

There are two different paving methods commonly used on roadways.

First, there’s traditional asphalt, commonly known as “blacktop”, which features a smooth, jet-black finish. The second option is tar and chip seal, which possesses a more textured surface and is offered in a variety of colors.

What makes your township choose one method over the other?

Hint: it’s not random.

Here are eight reasons why tar and chip seal paving is used for certain roadways.

1. It’s being used on a low-volume road

If your roadway was paved with the tar and chip seal method, it means that it’s considered a low-volume road and sees roughly 2,500 vehicles or fewer per day.

As tar and chip seal also provides a rougher, bumpier surface, it’s not as suitable for roads where vehicles travel at higher speeds.

2. It’s more cost-effective

Like any paying customer, your township is trying to cut costs, too. Higher costs lead to higher taxes, and the public certainly doesn’t want that!

While blacktop isn’t particularly expensive, tar and chip seal manages to be more affordable. Across miles of road, the cost savings are significant.

3. It has a shorter cure time

As tar and chip aggregate covers the thin layer of hot liquid asphalt that lies beneath, the cure time for tar and chip seal is shorter than that of blacktop.

Ultimately, this means less downtime; and less downtime means happier citizens!

4. It offers greater skid resistance

Did you know that blacktop and tar-and-chip use the same materials?

The difference lies in the construction method. Blacktop has an aggregate mixed throughout, whereas tar and chip seal uses the aggregate as its final layer.

As it’s the aggregate that provides the traction, you can see how tar and chip seal offers greater safety and skid resistance.

5. It helps eliminate black ice

With tar and chip seal paving, water doesn’t pool very easily.

Combine this with the extra traction that comes with a generous top layer of aggregate, and black ice is virtually nonexistent.

6. It doesn’t break down easily

All roads break down over time. In fact, tar and chip seal roadways are only rated to last for 7-10 years.

However, cracks and potholes do not form as easily — that is, unless, snowplows cause damage to them.

7. It heals itself

Unlike blacktop — which contracts and expands when water, ice, and extreme temperatures are involved — tar and chip seal has the potential to heal itself over time.

As any cracks are exposed to hot weather, you may find that they close up and may even be filled in with loose stones.

8. It requires little maintenance

Large cracks and potholes are less common. Small cracks tend to heal with time.

This means that, overall, tar and chip seal roads require less maintenance than your average blacktop road.

Again, less downtime and happier drivers!


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