Majority of roads to be asphalticly emulsified this summer

By Pat Grubb

Beginning next month, residents and visitors can expect traffic control delays, lower speed limits and loose rocks on roadways as the county road department applies what they call an asphaltic emulsion on the majority of roads in Point Roberts. Asphaltic emulsion, or chip seal, as locals say, will be applied on 23 miles of the Point’s 37 miles of public roads.

Major roads that are scheduled to be chip-sealed include Tyee Drive, Gulf Road, APA Road, Johnson Road, Benson Road, Marine Drive, Simundson Drive and South Beach Road. Work is scheduled to begin in May when asphalt trucks will be laying a thin layer of asphalt on four miles of selected roads while the chip-sealing will take place from June through late July.

Roads that have shoulders such as Tyee Drive, Gulf Road and others will have the chip-sealing only in the traffic lane, leaving the shoulders smooth for pedestrians and cyclists. Roads without paved shoulders will be chip-sealed entirely; any dirt shoulders will not be covered, according to Joe Rutan of Whatcom County public works department. That would be considered new construction, he said, and would be considered a capital works project that would trigger new regulations involving drainage and other issues.

Users of wheeled modes of transportation should expect loose rocks for about two weeks after the application of the chip-seal. Cyclists and motorcyclists, in particular, should be cautious while navigating the Point during this period to avoid wiping out while cornering.

Asked why pure pavement roads such as Gulf Road, Tyee Drive and parts of Marine Drive, APA Road and Simundson Drive needed to be covered with chip-seal as opposed to straight asphalt, Rutan said that’s the way the county maintains its roads. “We’re a rural county and that’s the way we do it.”

In 2004, however, Rutan said the county “upgraded” a number of roads from chip-sealed to asphalt when much of Maple Beach, South Beach Road, Edwards, Marina and Harbor Seal drives were overlaid with asphalt, among others.

A list of roads to be chipsealed is included below.

List of road improvements

  1. Janet Atkinson-Grosjean July 10, 2019, 12:03 pm

    Yet two previously unpaved (I think) cul de sacs off Mill Rd – Centenniel and Heather – have been paved over the last couple of days.

  2. Jan Atkinson-Grosjean April 11, 2019, 9:23 pm

    We’ve been on the Point for 30 years. Every year I complain to the county about the dust that makes living on our dead-end street so miserable in summer. Every year they respond by oiling the road, which helps for a couple of weeks but smells like rancid chip fat. I read the article with great delight. At last, I would be able to sell my shares in Pledge furniture polish. Cars would raise no dust devils as they sped past the house. But no, it isn’t to be. Our little street is not on the county’s list. I wonder how “they” determined who would be blessed and who condemned to eternal dusting?

    • According to Joe Rutan, no unpaved roads are scheduled to be chip-sealed as this would be considered new construction. As the article states, “That would be considered new construction,” he said, and would be considered a capital works project that would trigger new regulations involving drainage and other issues. You’ll need to start rattling some cages down at the county. County council, county executive and public works are the people to ask why you’re paying county road tax but don’t have roads that meet county standards.

      • Janet Atkinson-Grosjean July 10, 2019, 8:19 am

        Hmmm. But I just drove past two little cul de sacs off Johnson – Centennial and the one following, Heather? – that are now lush with asphalt. I don’t think they were paved previously.

    • interesting since we all pay taxes but our streets don’t count.


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