The Department of Transportation is ramping down some of its summer operations, like chip- and cinder sealing. Practices like those might be one of the biggest pieces of the Department’s “Bolder Five Year Plan.”

Chip sealing keeps water from penetrating a roads surface and softening its base. Maintenance Superintendent Mike Belt says that work is done in the summer to help get roads through the next two seasons. He says it helps roads survive fall rains and the freeze-and-thaw cycle of the winter.

Belt says such preventive maintenance practices pay the Department back in dividends by helping to put off the replacement of a road’s surface, which he adds is one of the most expensive parts of maintaining a road. He says those processes often lengthen the life of a surface two-fold or more.

MODOT says its “Bolder Five Year Plan” is intended to help it live within a 600 million dollar budget; about half the size of previous years. Under that plan Belt says work like chip sealing might be seen more, going forward.

He notes many of the crews who have been conducting sealing work in the summer are, or soon will be, out assessing road damage from this summer’s floods as the waters recede.