EASTERN OREGON – Motorists traveling on eastern Oregon highway sections that were chip sealed last summer can expect a bit more snow on the roads after they are plowed by Oregon Department of Transportation maintenance crews. To protect those resurfaced highway sections in Wallowa, Baker and Grant counties we won’t be plowing all the way to the pavement.
Because chip seals can take over six months to harden, scraping the road surface with our plows before the pavement is fully cured could damage the road. On newly chipped seal highways we use special metal plates called shoes that keep the plow blades about an inch off the road. Sanding rock and deicer to improve traction may be used, where appropriate.
Please slow down and pay extra attention in and near these highway sections when snow or ice is present:
• OR 3 Enterprise-Lewiston Highway: top of Buford Grade to a few miles north of Enterprise, milepost 5 to 38.
• OR 82 Wallowa Lake Highway: Minam to Wallowa, milepost 33.7 to 46.3.
• OR 7 Whitney Highway: Grant Co. line to Mason Dam, milepost 9.5 to 35.5.
• OR 410 Sumpter Highway: junction OR 7 to Sumpter, milepost zero to 3.7.
• U.S. 26 John Day Highway: John Day to Prairie City, milepost 162.6 to 175.
• U.S. 395-C John Day-Burns Highway: John Day to Canyon City, milepost .03C to 2.3C.
• U.S. 395-C John Day-Burns Highway: Starr Ridge to Harney Co. line, milepost 15.5C to 40.3C.
“We recognize the importance of winter plowing operations, but also recognize the need to protect a significant infrastructure investment that will have long term benefits,” said Transportation Maintenance Manager Shane Giffin.
Chip seals consist of rock chips pressed into a layer of oil and water mixed together, called an emulsion. This treatment is a cost-effective way to protect and extend the life of the road surface.
Most other highways will be plowed as close to the road surface as possible based on our highway maintenance level of service guidelines. We’ll resume this practice on the recently chip sealed routes next season.
“Please be patient with your fellow motorists and our crews who are working day and night this winter to help keep you safe,” Giffin said. “Always adjust your driving to the conditions of the road.”