Skip to Content

Chip Seal On Some Bend Roads Chipping Away


Road conditions in Bend are always a hot topic for drivers, and while the city takes steps to maintain during tough budget times, officials are finding one method to repair some of Bend’s busiest streets isn’t holding up.

Cracks, bumps, and loose rock are certainly noticeable and on roads like Empire Avenue, recent chip seal maintenance isn’t working, and people are noticing.

“I’ll cut across so I don’t have to go by there sometimes, because I don’t like it, and it’s just kind of annoying in a sense,” Brandi Mitchell, a Bend resident who uses Empire Ave to get to and from work daily, said Wednesday.

Chip seals should last a good seven years but, city officials are already noticing major deterioration on roads like Empire, and it hasn’t even been a year since they’ve been filled.

The city of Bend says it started noticing breakdown on chip seal projects performed last August by Deschutes County in as little as a month. Major areas affected include Empire Avenue to Purcell and along Newport Avenue starting at 9th, where half of the seal is gone.

It’s typically worked in the past, but not this time.

“It could be some quality control issues, oil issues — it’s kind of late in the season, there’s any number of things and its difficult to identify exactly what it is,” said Bend Public Works Street Division Manager Hardy Hanson. “The biggest thing is, I don’t want to do it again if it’s going to fail.”

Officials say it’s a bit disconcerting not knowing what is causing the quick deterioration, but are working on a plan now to save taxpayers money in the future.

“You know it’s unfortunate, it’s unsightly, and the worst part is, it’s not a good use of maintenance dollars,” said Hanson. “That’s what frustrates me — dollars are slim, so we want to maximize them as best we can.”

City officials will be doing plenty of prep-work, and will be looking into the matter for another year before maintenance is scheduled again. They want to make sure they proceed with the form of road treatment..

Deschutes County Road Manager Roger Olson said it was “kind of a freak deal” and happened on a “small percentage” of roads, noting that the county has been doing city chip-seal projects for eight years without similar prior problems. He said county chip seal projects are proceeding as planned, including a project set to begin on Baker Road in Deschutes River Woods, though he did say they are “using a different asphalt this year” that is less expensive.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ News Team


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content