Some Posey County residents say INDOT chip and seal project damages cars

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POSEY COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – It is re-paving season in Indiana, but the state is moving away from traditional re-paving in favor of chip and seal on state highways.

Indiana Department of Transportation officials say chip and seal’s end product is better than it used to be and it doesn’t leave loose gravel on the road.

Some residents in Posey County say a stretch of Highway 66 between Wadesville and New Harmony is damaging their vehicles. 

“There’s oil all over my car, the chip and seal pebbles and just a bunch of hot oil, and it smells horrible, it’s disgusting,” said Butch Dessaur of New Harmony. 

Dessaur says a drive from his home in New Harmony to his workplace in Wadesville has been a mess in recent days because of a chip and seal project underway on Highway 66. 

“The road was perfect, there was nothing wrong with it, there weren’t any potholes, nothing,” he said. “If they were going to do anything to it they should’ve just blacktopped it, so it wouldn’t ruin anyone’s cars or anything like that.” 

Chip and seal is a pavement surface treatment that combines one or more layers of asphalt with one or more layers of fine gravel.

The Indiana Department of Transportation says the process makes more sense. 

“Yes we have had complaints of people having broken windshields and things like that but our process is very much tailored to make sure those types of things don’t happen,” said INDOT spokesman Jason Tiller. “So what we will do is sweep the roadway before we put on the final layer of seal coat.”

Chip and seal is typically used on rural roads carrying lower traffic volumes.The process is cheaper than resurfacing with asphalt or concrete pavement, but not as long lasting.

“It provides a real bang for the buck, it’s something that a lot of state DOT’s  have been using for several years and it’s something that will continue,” Tiller said. “I’s something that provides a really good value to the taxpayer while also allowing us to focus on other projects that need more immediate attention.”

INDOT is also using chip and seal on other projects like State Road 162 in Spencer County and on State Road 257 in Pike County. 

About two years ago some residents in Vanderburgh County voiced concerns about damage to their vehicles from similar work on Highway 65.

Drivers have more concerns than the longevity of the road.  They are also concerned about possible damage to their cars during the construction process.

“Where the water splashes up (on my car) it now has a few cracks on it,” said Dessaur 

Indot says chip and seal is an acceptable method of repaving roads. Officials also say it saves the state six to 14 dollars for every one dollar it spends on these projects.

The project will likely be wrapped up in the next couple of days.

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