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Deschutes County begins Skyliners Road chip-sealing, assures cyclists the bike lanes get smoother treatment

Chip-sealing began Wednesday on Skyliner Road driving lanes west of Bend; the bike lane will get a 'fog seal' treatment, with oil and no rock
Deschutes County Road Department
Chip-sealing began Wednesday on Skyliner Road driving lanes west of Bend; the bike lane will get a 'fog seal' treatment, with oil and no rock

(Update: Correcting that this is county's first fog seal treatment for bike lanes)

Instead, an oil mix known as 'fog seal' will leave it smooth, official says

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Deschutes County began a chip-sealing project on about eight miles of Skyliners Road west of Bend on Wednesday, and an official assured concerned cyclists that the bike lane is getting a different treatment that won’t leave it too rough for safe cycling.

Some cyclists and others expressed their concerns on a comment thread on Reddit’s Bend subreddit on Wednesday (warning: some graphic language) upon learning of the project, one of several chip-sealing projects the county is undertaking this summer.

But Chuck Schutte, operations manager for the Deschutes County Road Department, said chip-sealing only will be done in the travel lanes, “between the fog lines,” while the 6-foot-wide bike lanes installed when the road was reconstructed several years ago will get a “fog seal” treatment.

"The fog seal is just oil with no rock," Schutte said. "The oil sets up in about an hour, then the bikes and cars can drive on it with no tracking." He said that means the bike lane “will be as smooth as it ever was.”

Schutte said the fog seal treatment is a first for the county, though smaller-sized rock has been used for chip-sealing in the bike lanes for the past decade.

"Due to the condition of the road and number of bicycles that use Skyliners, we figured this (fog seal) would be a better treatment for the bike lanes," he said.

Schutte said the fog seal treatment fills in cracks and uses a steel drum, rather than rubber tires, to make it smoother.

“We’ve been cognizant of the biking community," he said. "It’s not like we hate bikers.”

Several of the Reddit commenters also asked why the road was being chip-sealed now, when it appears to still be in good condition. Schutte said that’s preventative maintenance done on a schedule to prevents roads from deteriorating and needing more costly treatment.

“We have to do something with the road,” he said, or cracks and the like will start to emerge.

He said crews also are making sure to “broom” (sweep) the bike lanes nightly while the chip-sealing work is under way, a project expected to be completed early next week: “If they stay in the bike lane, they’ll be fine – no loose rock. The driving lane may be a bit rough.”

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.



  1. Interesting. A couple weeks ago I rode out on Billadeau and Ward Rds and discovered the county had been resurfacing those roads–and they sure as heck weren’t cleaning up the bike lanes out there! There was loose surface gravel almost everywhere except where car tires created tracks in the main travel lanes. So why the special treatment for Skyliners and the West side crowd? Maybe because that’s where much of of the wealthy in our community reside, and many of them are road cyclists? And while we’re at it, how about the city of Bend doing a better job of keeping the bike lanes in town (Greenwood, 15th, 27th, for example) clear of road debris and garbage that is damaging to bikes?

      1. I’d call the drivers that can’t share a road with a 22” wide cyclist the babies. Maybe call the cyclists that will ride asphalt with the babies a little crazy.

        1. I don’t know how many times I have been driving on O’Neil Highway between Redmond and Prineville where a spandex junkie is riding in the middle of a travel lane. There is no bike lane for 90% of that stretch of road but yet, the bicycle crowd expects everyone stop on a dime to avoid smacking them. There are a bunch of dump trucks that drive that road because of the multiple aggregate sources nearby. Good luck with expecting two dump trucks approaching each other to slow down enough to keep from hitting you. The pedal pushers also need to use their brain and ride in safe areas.

    1. There were no bike lanes before and after the chip seal on Billadeau and Ward. Guessing the bike community will all chip in to pay for the Skyliner bike lanes.

  2. I see Lycra Nation is in its usual tizzy over nothing. News flash: you treat a road when it’s in good condition to ensure it remains that way.

      1. Given these are public roads, their upkeep is a governmental responsibility, which requires spending money on materials, equipment, and labor. Welcome to modern society.

        1. I agree. They think they own the whole road. What’s great is to come around a corner on a country road or break over a knoll and have 3 or 4 of these lycra wonders stretched all the way across ur lane!!!! Zero common sense with those people!!

          1. Makes you almost want to pay attention while driving just to avoid manslaughter charges! What if you had been texting on your road or were super high and drunk? You bet Lycra nation would try and sue you and it’s obviously your road.

            1. One can be paying attention to the road, staying below the speed limit, and still come around a corner and face a difficult situation with cyclists in the middle of the road. The laws of physics still apply. I’d say you need to check your ego before you put on your stupid spandex pants and stay out of the middle of the road.

  3. Terrible for motorcycle riders. Who cares about bicycles. They don’t get up to any speed at all. Chip seal is waste of government budget and does NOTHING for the road.

  4. Knowing that some of the hater commentators are possibly driving on roads around here, I only ride on roads like Skyliner when there is no other option. There are plenty of dirt roads and trails around here and too many bad drivers on the asphalt.

  5. Seems to be lots of hate between cyclists and motorists around here. I’ve lived in Bend since the early 2000’s (born in WA and only ever lived in WA/OR). Fortunately, when I ride, I don’t see a lot of that hate “out in the wild”. Sure, there is the occasional jackass who decides to “coal roll” me or shout expletives at me simply because I am on a bicycle. But the majority of the time, I find that those of us on bikes and cars are watching out for each other. In town, I do NOT run stop signs (and NEVER run traffic lights), and when I approach an intersection or roundabout I give clear signals as to my directional intentions. So far I’ve never had a negative experience with a motorist, aside from the occasional redneck coal-roller or obscenity-spewer. And in my day to day life, I drive a car and a company-owned work truck. I encounter fellow cyclists often on the roads out in Tumalo and Sisters. Being a cyclist myself makes me more alert for others on bicycles. I also have a motorcycle endorsement and though I no longer ride a street bike, I still watch out for those two-wheeled fellow road users. So what’s my point? My point is this: despite all the “keyboard warrior” posturing here, I’m fairly certain that not one of you wants to be involved in a traffic collision that causes the injury or death of a cyclist. All of us–automobile driver, motorcyclist, and bicyclist have the legal RIGHT to use the roads in Oregon. This is Traffic Law 101 here. Let’s watch out for each other.

  6. License and road permits should be required for bikes. The spandex spinners demand equal access but are unwilling to subsidize the extra expense. Whine about “fossil fuels” but want the smooth surface of the oiled roads, one has to love the hypocrisy of these clowns on wheels.

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