Crack Sealing – Smoothing the Cracks of Age

Water is a road’s worst enemy and crack sealing is our first defence against pavement deterioration. Each year we perform approximately 2 million lineal metres of crack sealing, enough to fill a crack between Vancouver, BC and Thunder Bay, ON.

Crack sealing extends the life of pavement by preventing water from getting below the surface and causing damage. Liquid asphalt filler is applied in the spring to seal cracks that developed from winter wear and tear. This filler expands and contracts with the heat of the summer and freezing of winter. This keeps the surface safe and smooth by helping to reduce potholes.

When crack sealing we first remove dirt and loose gravel by blowing compressed air in cracks, then the liquid filler is placed in the crack with an overlap on each side and then covered with sand. The sand is left in place for a few days while the filler sets and to absorb any excess liquid. This is why you may encounter scribbles of sand along the road in the spring.

Crack sealing usually takes place from April to July. During this time you will see changeable message boards with information about crack sealing operations ahead and asking you to reduce your speed, these operation are also posted on DriveBC. Our crews and families really appreciate your patience and care when driving past.

During crack sealing operation, sand can be a nuisance to motorists – especially cyclist and motorcyclists. Reducing speeds will lower the potential for sand to be flicked up at your vehicle, other vehicles and workers. Also:

  • Leave a greater distance between yourself and the vehicles in front
  • Wear protective goggles or sun glasses if riding a bike or motorcycle
  • Check DriveBC and seek an alternate route if possible

Each spring you will see crack sealing taking place along sections of our highways throughout the province.

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Page 1 of 6 comments on “Crack Sealing – Smoothing the Cracks of Age”

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  1. What is the maximum width, length and depth recommended for using crack sealing. I live in Monte Creek and Argo Maintenance has used this product on potholes that are 4 feet long 2 to 3 feet wide and nearly 3 inches deep. Is this product recommended for this type of use. We have been complaining about the amount of potholes on our street and this is what they have used to fill them.

    • Hello Kathie – thanks for connecting with us here. We shared your concern with our local area manager who let us know that AIM Roads is responsible for the maintenance in your area and they are filling potholes but not using a tar compound, but rather a hot mix. If you have continued concerns about this work, please reach out to our Vernon area office for more information. Thank you and safe travels.

      Vernon Area
      4791 23rd Street
      Vernon, BC V1T 4K9
      Telephone: 250 503-3664

      • I called Aim, weeks ago, and they informed me that Argo Road Maintenance, from Kamloops, is responsible for our road. We are right on the edge of both, but we are on the Argo’s side. As I said, Argo used this to fill potholes just a few days ago I watched them doing it in front of my house.

        • Thanks for this Kathie. We shared this with our staff in the area and they let us know that Argo was recently spray patching in the Monte Creek sub, not crack sealing. Spray patching is utilized on cracks greater than 25mm wide and on smaller potholes. Old Ferry Road is a sealcoat road (hard surface of approx. 1” depth), so spray patching was conducted to repair potholes on this route. Does this help?

  2. Hi I have a question. I live in Powell River B.C. and ride a motorcycle. As of late highways are crack sealing as they are in many communities. I have noticed that they don’t appear to be using sand and some of the areas where the tar like material is applied are very large. It’s almost like they are applying a pavement patch. I have read a number of articles discussing the dangers of crack sealing and motorcycles. Should I be concerned?

    • Hi Dan – thanks for your comment. Crack sealing should be sealed with both tar and aggregate to help the surface achieve an asphalt like condition. We understand that the newly finished surface can be tricky, which is why slower speed limits are put into place while the road cures and sets. Is there a particular stretch of BC highway you are concerned about? We would like to follow up.