What is Sealcoating and Why Are We Doing it on BC Highways?

Sealcoating up close
Sealcoating on Highway 16 near Burns Lake

No, we aren’t making jackets for cold little seals, although that is a nice thought – isn’t it?

Sealcoating is actually a common type of road resurfacing done on BC highways. It involves the application of a special mixture to the road that protects the road base from additional wear and tear. So it’s kind of like a little jacket, but for roads. When it’s applied over existing pavement, sealcoating is a really cost-effective way of resurfacing that extends the life of the road by sealing out moisture. It also provides a skid-resistant, anti-glare surface during wet weather and, because it hardens the surface of gravel roads, it provides a dust-free driving surface. That’s a lot of good things coming from one type of treatment, don’t you think? We do too.

There are five or six steps in the sealcoating process:

  1. If required, we patch or seal cracks to prepare the road surface prior to sealing.
  2. A mixture of asphalt combined with water is then sprayed on the road surface. The water in this mixture starts to evaporate immediately.
  3. Immediately after spraying the asphalt-water mixture, a layer of gravel is spread over the surface.
  4. Next, the gravel is compacted and embedded into the asphalt with rollers. In some cases, sand is applied to assist in the consolidation and curing process. Despite the high-pressure rollers, some gravel will not become embedded in the asphalt.
  5. The surface is allowed to cure for up to two days while the water continues to evaporate.  Hot, dry summer days help speed this process, which is why we typically try to sealcoat during the summer months. Traffic can pass over this surface at reduced speeds during the curing process.
  6. Finally, the sealcoated surface is swept to eliminate any loose gravel. This may take several sweepings.
Sealcoating on the move
Sealcoating on Highway 16 near Burns Lake

From the time gravel is compacted on the road to the time when the excess is swept away, traffic must be kept to maximum of 50km/h. Travelling at higher speeds can cause gravel to break loose from a fresh seal coat, creating the risk of flying rock which may crack or break a windshield. To keep you and your vehicle safe, we use 24 hour pilot cars to keep the traffic speed down while the asphalt-gravel mixture solidifies. This can cause a bit of delay, which we know can be frustrating, especially if you are eager to get to the cabin or lake, but we appreciate your patience as we work to build an even better road to get you there.

Do you have any questions about sealcoating that we didn’t answer here? Let us know in the comments below or connect with us on Twitter or Facebook and we will try to get you an answer.

Page 1 of 112 comments on “What is Sealcoating and Why Are We Doing it on BC Highways?”

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  1. Unfortunately people generally don’t understand the relative per-mile costs of various pavement maintenance treatments and the limited amount of funding available for highway maintenance. The per-mile cost of maintaining a hard-surface road has increased drastically since they were first converted from gravel/dirt roads decades ago. There would be a rebellion if governments had to collect enough money to put hot-mix asphalt (HMA) overlays on every road when it was time for maintenance. For every mile of HMA applied to a road you can maintain 15-20 miles of pavement using chip seal treatments and 5-8 miles using microsurfacing.

    After 35+ years as a government employee (retired, not from BC) and then elected official (also retired and not from BC), I can tell you that people want things to get done but most don’t want to pay for it. As an employee of an engineering firm specializing in public service projects (transportation, utilities, etc), I have yet to see a unit of government that wasn’t struggling to maintain its transportation infrastructure due to lack of adequate funding. Keep doing your best with the limited resources you have available. Those of us who truly understand the situation and understand you are doing what you can with the tools and funds at hand. And most importantly, stay safe out there!

    Reply
    • Thanks Brad, for sharing your experience and insights with us here. It was a welcome comment to us today and we sure appreciated it. Safe travels to you and thanks again.

      Reply
  2. Micro-surfacing is the way to go. No broken windscreens and you only have to line paint in one direction. Less road noise, no aggregate waste, smoother ride.

    Reply
    • Thanks for this comment and suggestion, Tom. We have sent it to our maintenance group for their consideration. Safe travels!

      Reply
  3. When will highway lines be painted back on hwy 39 & hwy 97N from Mackenzie Junction to Whisker’s Point as seal coating has been completed?

    Reply
    • Hello again Barbara – the local area manager has just let us know that there is one more paving project to be completed in this area and then the line painting for projects will be completed. Hope this information is helpful!

      Reply
  4. Perfectly good stretch of road from pouce coupe to AB border ruined by seal coating garbage.Road didn t need work for 5 years or more.Just stop wasting tax dollars on seal coating,nobody likes it nobody wants it,are we clear on this now.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment David, we are sorry to hear your frustration. Unfortunately, while the sealcoating process can be rough when it is first installed, it should smooth out in a short period of time. While the road might have seemed fine, sealcoating helps to fill cracks and other often imperceptible flaws in the surface, extending the life of the pavement and saving tax payer dollars in the longer run. We hope that this information is helpful.

      Reply
  5. Well here I sit one hour from home and I’m houred out in my log book now thanks to seal coating. I’ve seen in many instances that the flag ppl are more interested in keeping the road contractor happy than with traffic flow. This needs to change.
    If you are planning to give me one of your generic answers please don’t both.
    Thx from A very tired driver.

    Reply
    • Hi Ken – we’re sorry to hear this. If you’d like to let us know the location this happened, we will send to our staff for their review.

      Reply
  6. I can’t believe this is what my tax dollars get spent on, absolute garbage, my windshield is shattered for starters, combined with a piss poor job on hwy 2 from Dawson creek to the Alberta border, who thought it would be a good idea to spread gravel across a perfectly fine 50km stretch of highway? Cause they owe me a new windshield. Couple all that with ridiculous delays, an absurd finished surface that’s 100 times rougher and more uneven than before, idiot flaggers. This may be “cost effective” for the government, but it certainly isn’t for me, and since us taxpayers are the ones that pay the bill, it really isn’t cost effective at all from our perspective. Dumbest idea ever. Keep seal coating on driveways and gravel roads, this garbage doesn’t belong on highways

    Reply
  7. While my previous comment is awaiting moderation by tranbcedtor I have another comment in that the Dept. of Highways crew on Texada Island employed six workers before the maintenance was contracted out, now I believe there’s one full time and several part time. I live on Bell Road, the longest and busiest gravel road on this Island that has no posted speed limit signs. I have had dialogue with the local PR govt. Highways Manager and the RCMP, all resulting in no joy. I’ve been waiting for common sense to prevail from all concerned, again with no joy. I’ve had my last two comments placed around a year ago on this site unposted, I expect a similar response this time also. Control the public’s access to information and nothing changes. Don’t get me started on the Calcium Chloride application to roads resulting in the scrapping of 10 year old vehicles. I guess it’s good for the economy, not so much for financial struggling citizens. You’re welcome.

    Reply
    • Hi there William,

      We checked our comments to make sure we didn’t miss something from you and can confirm that both of your messages were responded to in late December 2019. If you can’t see our responses, or would like us to send them to you via email, just let us know – we’d be happy to do that.

      In regards to your questions:
      1. We don’t mandate how our maintenance contractors allocate their staff so long as they are meeting the maintenance specification outlined in their maintenance contract. We do conduct audits and monitoring on Texada and in general the contractor is meeting their maintenance obligations.
      2. Many roads in BC do not have posted speed limits and under that motor vehicle act, these roads have a maximum speed limit of 80km/h in rural areas and 50km/h in urban areas. Not sure how much feedback you want to provide, but we would need to do a full engineering review to set speed limits to ensure that each corner is appropriately signed, etc. We do find that most drivers are reasonable and will drive a speed appropriate the conditions of the road.
      3. Calcium Chloride is a widely accepted and used material for dust control and base stabilization (I question his claim that use of this material is deteriorating 10 year old vehicles).

      We hope that this is helpful.

      Reply
  8. Seal coating of roads in B.C. is a joke that’s not funny. Damage sustained to vehicles and the possible personal injury to cyclists getting grated if they should fall on this money saving road surface is beyond comprehension. I suggest dragging the proponents of this ridiculous maintenance method just a couple of meters to experience the effect it has on human flesh. On Texada Island most gravel roads here are smoother than a seal coated section of two kilometers that has been applied and resulted in many complaints to the local Ministry of Highways Manager which are shrugged off similar to the Transbceditor replies. The general condition of roads on this Island need to be investigated by an unbiased professional as it seems Govt. standards are different than the travelling publics expectations.

    Reply
    • Hello William,

      Thank you for your comment. We shared your concern with our local area staff and they let us know that sealcoating is a very cost effective treatment that has been used on roadways around the world for decades. It is usually only conducted in rural areas, as the dust and materials that are temporarily created during and immediately following construction are usually an impediment in urban areas. Sealcoating is often used on otherwise gravel roads to provide a hard, clean running surface very similar to asphalt pavement at a fraction of the cost and can be used on existing asphalt roadways to extend the life of the pavement. It is often used on asphalt roadways as a mitigative measure when they exhibit certain surface deficiencies.

      While we understand that this isn’t the most popular resurfacing method; it is a key tool in our pavement preservation toolbox and one that we will continue to use in specific cases. Over a relatively short period of time the road will become smoother.

      We also perform regular audits of all of our maintenance contractors to ensure that they are meeting the specifications set out in our contracts. You can read more about those here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/transportation-infrastructure/contracting-to-transportation/highway-bridge-maintenance/highway-maintenance/agreement

      Reply
  9. My poor vehicle looks awful after having to drive through the seal coating process between Houston and hungry Hill. I cant seem to wash the tar off and I now need a new windshield and I also have chips out of the paint work. Not impressed and I had to waste a tone of time in the line ups going back and forth, not fun at all. I dont understand why this could not be done at night rather than during the day. The road seems worse now as it is really noisy to drive on and one feels rattled while on the road.

    Reply
    • Hello Belinda,

      We are sorry to hear about your experience. During construction, speed zones with 24-hour pilot car assisted traffic control should be established prior to any seal-coating being applied and encompasses all seal-coat areas until the road has been fully swept free of loose aggregate and centreline marked allowing traffic to resume safely at regular posted speed. The ministry and the contractor work diligently and quickly to ensure minimal impacts to traffic and a high-quality end product. If you have insurance concerns about any issues you have found, please visit the claims link below. Claimants are responsible for taking steps to address their own damages, so please consider going through your own insurer to allow for repairs to be done immediately. Your insurer can then follow up on the claim on your behalf, and can include your deductible into the claim total.
      Here is a link to more information on this process:

      https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/driving-and-cycling/licensing-and-insurance/highway-claims

      Reply
  10. Sealcoating, even when done properly, results in damage to vehicles and tar on everything. I have a brand new, white truck, and I cant believe the amount of tar left on it and rock chips sustained by this “safe and effective procedure”

    Add to the fact that these highways from 6 Mile hill all the way to Wakefield road were fine and absolutely did not need to be done. Now there are giant ruts and rough spots on the highway east of Houston and in spots by hungry hill when the pavement was perfectly smooth before all of this.

    WBI has done a rushed, incomplete job and has left sections seemingly unbrushed and simply left signs up on hungry hill telling motorists to not pass and to reduce speed, which is not working. They rushed to get everything done by the deadline and it shows. The fact that tax dollars went to paying for this work is infuriating.

    This is not highway improvement or maintenance. It has made it worse in every single way. Thank you to the government that I pay taxes to for doing damage to my vehicle and the vehicles of other motorists and not seeming to care what we all think.

    Reply
    • Hello Paul and thank you for taking the time to connect with us here to share your concerns. We shared your comment with our local area staff and they let us know that the ministry has employed seal-coating for rehabilitating and extending the service life of pavements for the last few decades. Seal-coating applications produce a cost-effective surface that extends the life of underlying pavement structure by up to 10 years. A large proportion of side roads and highway segments in the Northern Region of the province are seal coated as seal coat applications provide excellent skid resistant surfaces, an economical all-weather surface, a water barrier to prevent water infiltration into the underlying pavement, and a new life to a dry and weathered surface.

      Generally, seal coat applications are applied to low volume roads, and they have also been successfully used on high volume highways in many other jurisdictions. When a polymer modified emulsion is used, as in the case of this project, seal coat surface treatment can be used for higher volume traffic applications.

      Seal coats are used on pavements to cover many existing pavement distress types including fatigue cracking, alligator cracks, transverse cracks, longitudinal cracks, ravelling, weathered and brittle surface appearance. They are used to restore ride quality and surface texture. This segment of Highway 16 was experiencing cracking and ravelling with the potential to deteriorate further and faster if not sealed-up.

      An important concern with seal-coating, as mentioned in your voicemail, is the amount of dust created due to the high percent of fines. Fines float to the surface during the process causing particles to be airborne as vehicles drive over the new surface. Loose rock is almost always inevitable as well. During construction, speed zones with 24-hour pilot car assisted traffic control is established prior to any seal-coating being applied and encompasses all seal-coat areas until the road has been fully swept free of loose aggregate and centreline marked allowing traffic to resume safely at regular posted speed. The ministry and the contractor work diligently and quickly to ensure minimal impacts to traffic and a high-quality end product.

      The ministry has and will continue to use seal-coating as part of our pavement rehabilitation strategy to extend rehabilitation dollars to keep our road network at a high level of service.

      When continuing on Highway 16, please take a look at the segment between Wakefield Road (west end of this project) to Tower Street in Telkwa. This segment was seal coated last year. As you can see, and feel the highway maintains a high level of rideability and smoothness. We understand the process of seal-coating is not without its challenges but ultimately, it’s a cost-effective way of rehabilitating the highway so we can extend our funding dollars throughout the Province.

      Additionally, Wakefield Rd to 6 Mile Hill (Topley) project is wrapping up and the contractor is currently performing some final sweeping and addressing noted deficiencies which are minor in nature. These will be completed in the next couple of weeks. Our staff have confirmed that the project is well signed. Temporary line markers are in place/or are being placed as timed with sweeping operations. Line painting will be completed once all works are complete, which we expect to be by month’s end. We hope that this information is helpful. If you have any other questions or concerns, please let us know.

      Reply
  11. sealcoating destroys tires wrecks windsheilds addsanother 10 cents a litre to fuel bill.if i knew how to sue the cheapo govnment that calls themselves green i would. carbon violation is okay if government does it.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your feedback Paul – we’re sorry to hear your obvious frustration.

      We shared your concerns with our paving group and they let us know that sealcoating is a very cost effective treatment that has been used on roadways around the world for decades. It is usually only conducted in rural areas, as the dust and materials that are temporarily created during and immediately following construction are usually an impediment in urban areas. Sealcoating is often used on otherwise gravel roads to provide a hard, clean running surface very similar to asphalt pavement at a fraction of the cost and can be used on existing asphalt roadways to extend the life of the pavement. It is often used on asphalt roadways as a mitigative measure when they exhibit certain surface deficiencies. We hope that this helps answer some of your concerns.

      Reply
  12. We pay good tax dollars to have our roads here in the north and sealcoating is not the answer. You would never seal coat the freeway from hope to Vancouver so why persecute the tax payers of the north with this crap. Maybe if you spent some time repairing the shoulders where the pavement is collapsing in the same are you are sealcoating would be a better alternative. There was nothing wrong with Hwy 16 west of burns lake and now you have destroyed the highway.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comments about sealcoating, and repairing shoulders on Hwy 16, west of Burns Lake, Don. I will forward them to our people involved with the work, and get back to you here.

      Reply
    • Hi Don. I talked with our local district staff. There are segments of damage to the shoulders within some of the sealcoated sections due to the heavy rain experienced all spring/summer this year. Some of these segments have been repaired numerous times this season, only to be overwhelmed and blown out again by the volume of rain runoff. These segments are on our maintenance contractor’s radar to be repaired; some were fixed in the last couple of days and others planned for repairs soon.

      Reply
    • Hi Don,

      There are segments of damage to the shoulders within some of the sealcoated sections, due to the heavy rain experienced all spring/summer this year. Some of these segments have been repaired numerous times this season, only to be overwhelmed and blown out again by the volume of rain runoff. These segments are on the maintenance contractor’s radar to be repaired, and some were fixed in the last couple of days, with others planned to happen soon.

      Reply
  13. Aug. 21. 2020. Ruined my brand new truck near Burns Lake travelling towards Prince George. Tar all over a fresh wax and my fuel tanks. Tank caps were stuck and spent 30 minutes trying to open them. Who is responsible for the damage and where should I go?

    Reply
    • Hi Rajan,

      Members of the public may claim against the ministry if they sustain bodily injuries or damage to their home, land or vehicle while traveling on provincial highways, and which have arisen out of construction or maintenance activities. This is an internal process which reviews whether the contractor(s) fulfilled their contractual obligations. (An example of an external process would be pursuing your costs through small claims court.)

      Please keep in mind, in order for a claim to be payable by the Province, there must be proof that there was negligence on the part of the contractor(s) or the ministry. If there was no negligence, the claim is not payable. For more information, and to access the claims form, please visit the Claims Unit website at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/driving-and-cycling/licensing-and-insurance/highway-claims

      Reply
  14. It’s death to a motorcyclist. Heavy cruiser around a corner at slow speeds hitting ball bearings. Where do you think that’s headed..? I feel a class action lawsuit is inevitable.

    Reply
    • Hi Rob. The gravel is temporary. We recognize it’s a potential hazard, so warning signs are placed and speed limits are reduced until it is swept up. We also use 24-hour pilot cars to keep the traffic speed down while the asphalt-gravel mixture solidifies.

      Reply
  15. This would be nice if you did do the 6 steps but it has how been 3 days and you have still not sweeped the road or used pilot car to keep the speed down , and if as I Suspect the gravel was put on extra heavy as now we have 1 to 1 1/2” of lose gravel on each side of the wheel ruts , seal coating if done right works but done wrong is nothing more then lip stick on a pig , as 3 chips in my window and 2 chip on my paint work proves, and speed was not the issue as these chips where all done at lower speeds than the posted 50 km , if you are going to do a job do it well .Very disappointed and out of pocket ! Road Chief Lake & ness

    Reply
    • Hi Kelvin,

      Thanks for you comments about sealcoating underway at Chief Lake Road.

      A layer of tar is applied followed up with a layer aggerate to cover the tar, to ensure the aggregate seal adheres properly enough aggregate is applied to cover the tar and is then swept off a minimum of 48 hours after. The graded aggregate seal was completed late Sunday and YRB is monitoring the area to ensure the aggregate has adhered properly prior to cleaning off the road surface. YRB started sweeping some areas afternoon of Tuesday July 14, and is working through the site. A reduced speed limit of 50km/hr is posted through the construction area, and is to be adhered to at all times even when no workers are on the road. Reduced speeds minimize the amount of rocks being thrown by traffic. The work completed will improve the safety and durability of Chief Lake Road until a paving project can be done. YRB has contacted local RCMP to monitor speed limit. In addition, we had Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement on site yesterday, to assist with ensuring drivers stay within traffic speed limits.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your replay , I have lived through seal coating before But not what has happen here , what has happed here is that the temperature was to cold and the following rain Storms washed the tar away which has left stones loose, now that the chief Lake Road has been swept, you can see all off the repairs that where done , not only have you cost me money , But you have wasted tax payer money, But then you can all ways blame it on the weather, Instead of poor workmanship and planning, in this case you should be Reimbursing residence of Chief lake for the damage that has been done to theIr vehicles.

        Reply
          • Hi Kelvin. An update:

            Around 11:30 am yesterday (July 16) Yellowhead Road and Bridge (YRB) became aware that the emulsion used on the Chief Lake Road graded aggregate seal program (GAS) was deteriorating. YRB staff went to the site and immediately started to talk to people, provide information on social media, set up traffic control and establish best actions to return the road to a safe condition. The subcontractor hired by YRB to provide emulsion for the GAS program was contacted and is onsite. YRB is working with the subcontractors to determine probable causes and solutions.

            At this time, traffic control is set up onsite and sand has been applied to the remaining emulsion to minimize spray and improve traction.

            If you have a claim please visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/driving-and-cycling/licensing-and-insurance/highway-claims

  16. The “seal coat” done in Christina lake and the bombi pass is horrendous. The roads were FINE. No need for fixing. You had too much money that you needed to spend so you decided to “fix” random roads. If you’re going to re do a road, do it properly. C’mon 🙄

    Reply
    • Hi Taylor – thanks for your message. We shared your comment with our local area staff and they let us know that several roads were identified by our maintenance contractor with deteriorated pavement that needed maintenance in order to prevent further deterioration. As new paving is very expensive, sealcoat was chosen to seal cracks and extend the lifespan of the road surface. We have run into delays with sweeping due to the wet weather we had earlier this month. Hot weather helps cure the asphalt emulsion and bind the gravel to the road surface. Additional sweeping is scheduled for early next week to remove residual aggregate. This will improve the surface and make it safer for bicycles to ride on. Over time as traffic further compacts the surface, the road will smoothen out even more. Hope that this information is helpful!

      Reply
  17. WE live at Christina Lake. Our road was recently sealcoated and topped with gravel. There was nothing wrong with our road and now its a disaster. My grandkids have wiped out on their bikes on this gravel. Our road has been swept and its not any better. I’m very disappointed in the decision to do this to our little community. I have more grandkids coming to visit, I told them to leave their bikes and rollerblades at home this year. I sure hope they plan on fixing this BIG mistake. Our tourist based economy is going to suffer from this on top of COVID19.

    Reply
    • Hello Debbie – thank you for your message. We are sorry to hear about your concerns and the possible scraped knees:( We have shared your message with our local area staff for their review. Several roads were identified by our maintenance contractor with deteriorated pavement that needed maintenance in order to prevent further deterioration. As new paving is very expensive, sealcoat was chosen to seal cracks and extend the lifespan of the road surface. We have run into delays with sweeping due to the wet weather we had earlier this month. Hot weather helps cure the asphalt emulsion and bind the gravel to the road surface. Additional sweeping is scheduled for early next week to remove residual aggregate. This will improve the surface and make it safer for bicycles to ride on. Over time as traffic further compacts the surface, the road will smoothen out even more for pedestrians and cyclists as well. Hope that this information is helpful!

      Reply
  18. Seems like trans BC is desperately trying to defend the indefensible here. If sweeping of loose gravel is delayed due to weather, then why are warning signs not left in place and speed reduction still enforced? The many drawbacks of this process completely outweigh the cost savings vs asphalt. Offloading the cost of damage to vehicles and other liabilities on to contractors is artificially lowering the overall cost of this program. I would be willing to bet good money that a comprehensive study of the overall related costs, beyond just the application process, would find that this so called solution is nearly on par with asphalt. There are simply too many external factors that are being downplayed or not even considered. Merely browsing through your replies for a few minutes, I have seen several examples where extreme weather has completely undermined the process. Considering extreme weather events are highly likely to increase in frequency due to climate change, I believe that this method of Road repair will continue to become less and less viable, or successful, as time goes on. Also if this process is mainly used in rural areas, than why was it applied to a highly trafficked Frontage Road in Christina Lake, that is the only access to essential services such as the Grocery Store, Pharmacy, and Post Office? Persons with reduced Mobility rely on this road every day for access to essential services. Also most people are probably not aware that contractors are liable for damage to their vehicles, and will pay for repairs directly, further diluting the accounting of the true cost to the public. Short term solutions are rarely cost effective in the long run. Just because this process has been used for decades is no reason to continue doing it. I was even told that we should be grateful our roads are being repaired at all. This kind of attitude is completely unacceptable. A true cost / benefits / drawbacks/ economic impact to affected communities, analysis would be greatly appreciated. Seems to me that this only benefits the bottom line while offloading all of the negative impacts. Nothing I have read in these replies has changed my mind or refuted that belief. Prove me wrong with data, rather than marketing and philosophy.

    Reply
    • Hello Graham – thank you for connecting with us here to share your concerns. We shared your comment with our local area staff and they advised us that several roads were identified by our maintenance contractor with deteriorated pavement that needed maintenance in order to prevent further deterioration. As new paving is very expensive, sealcoat was chosen to seal cracks and extend the lifespan of the road surface. We have run into delays with sweeping due to the wet weather we had earlier this month. Hot weather helps cure the asphalt emulsion and bind the gravel to the road surface. Additional sweeping is scheduled for early next week to remove residual aggregate. This will improve the surface and make it safer for bicycles to ride on. Over time as traffic further compacts the surface, the road will smoothen out even more. Hope that this information is helpful!

      Reply
      • Just raise all of these residents taxes, and grind & repave everything the “right” expensive and road closing way. I bet you’ll have way more complaints going that route. You can’t make everyone happy. This was the best route and kudos to trying to explain this to people. That said the “tar and feather” resurface method takes a good year to be smooth and normal again. So deal with it or be cool with increased taxes and road closures, you can’t have it both ways guys.

        Reply
  19. Posted this on several local groups focussed on safety and road conditions :

    “So after spending a couple nights at Texas Creek campground on Christina Lake(beautiful spot and highly recommended – the lake is always awesome and I the provincial campground is great),. I have to recommend caution to motorcyclists riding anywhere that the “seal coating” has been done (if it’s complete – can’t be sure ). I think that’s also at other end of the lake too.

    Inexperienced motorcyclists should probably just avoid those roads altogether. They are hazardous now, with piles of slippery pea gravel in the lane centres, ready to wash out a front wheel when cornering – and the roads are twisty so that means everywhere out there. It’s a shame cause they were a wonderful ride before.

    I feel bad for residents that live along those roads, many in very close proximity …..on top of being dangerous, every vehicle is throwing up dust clouds behind them. Must be awful putting up with that.

    I can’t help wonder if maybe they aren’t finished, and the rocks will be removed as part of the process? Surely whats there can’t be considered a completed contract?”

    And no signage ? No “motorcycles use caution” or “caution loose gravel ” signs? Unacceptable.

    Reply
    • Hello Christopher,

      Thanks for your message. We are sorry to hear your frustration. We have shared your message with our local area staff for their review. Several roads were identified by our maintenance contractor with deteriorated pavement that needed maintenance in order to prevent further deterioration. As new paving is very expensive, sealcoat was chosen to seal cracks and extend the lifespan of the road surface. We have run into delays with sweeping due to the wet weather we had earlier this month. Hot weather helps cure the asphalt emulsion and bind the gravel to the road surface. Additional sweeping is scheduled for early next week to remove residual aggregate. This will improve the surface and make it safer for bicycles to ride on. Over time as traffic further compacts the surface, the road will smoothen out even more for pedestrians and motorcyclists as well. Hope that this information is helpful!

      Reply
  20. The recent seal coating at Christina Lake is disappointing unless with time the end result simulates a paved road. I understand seal coating BC roads is cost effective when you look at it in isolation;
    however, for a community that counts on generating tourism income this kind of surfacing just squashed economic benefits from one of the income sources a recreation area can benefit from. Road cycling is a known tourism booster and communities that can attract cyclists from both local and international areas benefit vastly from their spending (hotels, restaurants, shops). With the recent seal coating the connector roads to long cycling rides have become extremely unappealing. Cyclists will go elsewhere. The Christina Lake region could be a hot spot for road cycling. People should be able to cycle from lakeside cabins or tour the lake by road bike, instead of getting in a car and driving to find a paved road. Instead of growing this market, the decision to go with this type of road has impeded it. The roads prior to seal coating also made transportation more human powered versus vehicle powered. Locals & tourists riding their bikes to pick up groceries or visit ing local spots make it a much “greener” and more liveable & healthy community. Urban centres are putting funding towards paved roadways for cycling because the economic gains are so great, but with seal coating at Christina Lake the few paved roads in the community have decreased! Those roads should be the base to grow paved cycling networks-this should be part of the decision making process.

    Reply
    • Hello Monica – we’re sorry to hear your concerns. We have shared your comment with our local area manager and will let you know what we hear back from him. Stay tuned.

      Reply
    • Hello again Monica,

      Here’s what we heard back. There were several roads identified by our maintenance contractor with deteriorated pavement that needed maintenance in order to prevent further deterioration. As new paving is very expensive, sealcoat was chosen to seal cracks and extend the lifespan of the road surface. We have run into delays with sweeping due to the wet weather we had earlier this month. Hot weather helps cure the asphalt emulsion and bind the gravel to the road surface. Additional sweeping is scheduled for early next week to remove residual aggregate. This will improve the surface and make it safer for bicycles to ride on. Over time as traffic further compacts the surface, the road will smoothen out even more. We hope that this information is helpful.

      Reply
  21. Recently, the road behind our property at Christina Lake was seal coated. I have read and understand the economic justification but have not been able to find any information on the possible effects of ground water contamination due to bonding material leaching into surrounding areas. Since we have a drilled well within 75 metres of this road I would appreciate hearing of any sources of information that might alleviate my concern with respect to health issues. By extension, I am concerned that the nearby watercourses leading to Christina lake may be subjected to environmental degradation. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thankyou.

    Reply
    • Hello Tom and thank you for your message. We shared your concern with our program area staff and they let us know that our maintenance contractors are required to follow our environmental best practices as outlined in our Environmental Best Practices for Highway Maintenance Activities. For maintenance activities like seal coating, the maintenance contractor’s limit the application to the road surface and plan to complete the work during dry weather. If you would like to speak with someone further about specific questions with the site, we encourage you to contact our district area office in Grand Forks. Here’s their contact info:
      Grand Forks Area
      7290 2nd Street
      Box 850
      Grand Forks, BC V0H 1H0
      Telephone: 250 442-4384
      Fax: 250 442-4317

      Reply
  22. P.S. I forgot to mention the effects of seal coating on fuel consumption. Rougher roads result in higher fuel consumption (https://www.academia.edu/2679059/Synthesis_of_the_Effects_of_Pavement_Properties_on_Tire_Rolling_Resistance) and some estimates show that seal coating increases fuel consumption by 4% to 5%. In short, the Government pretends to extend the life of roads with sealcoating while in reality they are passing on a huge increase in costs to road users. As always, the best approach would be to pave roads well and maintain them well. Stop gap measures like sealcoating are smoke and mirrors designed to create the illusion of doing something useful while in fact they are just downloading costs onto the user.

    Reply
    • Hello Bill – thanks for your message.

      We shared your concerns with our paving group and they let us know that we have been using seal coat as a resurfacing treatment for many, many years – so this is certainly not an “NDP pavement” treatment. Sealcoating is a very cost effective treatment that has been used on roadways around the world for decades. It is usually only conducted in rural areas, as the dust and materials that are temporarily created during and immediately following construction are usually an impediment in urban areas. Sealcoating is often used on otherwise gravel roads to provide a hard, clean running surface very similar to asphalt pavement at a fraction of the cost and can be used on existing asphalt roadways to extend the life of the pavement. It is often used on asphalt roadways as a mitigative measure when they exhibit certain surface deficiencies. We hope that this helps answer some of your concerns.

      Reply
  23. Sealcoating, unaffectionately known as NDP pavement is another abuse perpetrated on people of the Interior. As others above have mentioned, it is noisy, wears tires, coats cars with asphalt and results in broken windows and chipped paint. It is horrendously dangerous to ride a motorcycle on with the loose crush that is inevitably left after the process and the asphalt that always manages to find its way onto the tires in spite of the intentions of the contractors. In the winter in black ice conditions it creates a pebbled surface that has poorer traction than a flat surface. There is little evidence to support its effectiveness (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/239549648_Effectiveness_of_Highway_Pavement_Seal_Coating_Treatments) at extending the life of pavement and it can only be presumed that it is done as a cosmetic treatment to quiet complaints about deteriorating highway conditions. It is a travesty that this fraud is being perpetuated on the people of the Interior. If it is so effective, please go sealcoat the streets of Vancouver.

    Reply
    • Hello Bill – thanks for your message.

      We shared your concerns with our paving group and they let us know that we have been using seal coat as a resurfacing treatment for many, many years – so this is certainly not an “NDP pavement” treatment. Sealcoating is a very cost effective treatment that has been used on roadways around the world for decades. It is usually only conducted in rural areas, as the dust and materials that are temporarily created during and immediately following construction are usually an impediment in urban areas. Sealcoating is often used on otherwise gravel roads to provide a hard, clean running surface very similar to asphalt pavement at a fraction of the cost and can be used on existing asphalt roadways to extend the life of the pavement. It is often used on asphalt roadways as a mitigative measure when they exhibit certain surface deficiencies. We hope that this helps answer some of your concerns.

      Reply
  24. Hi. Does anyone resident of BC like sealcoat? Read a lot of negative comments on here. It is terrible. Has anyone at TranBC tried riding a motorcycle on this stuff? It’s not very comfortable. Feels like the road is grabbing my front tire and not in a good way. How is this safe? You guys just resurfaced the Hedley area where I own property. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with the surface before and now it’s awful. If nobody likes this stuff why do you keep doing it? It’s going to end up costing more when enough people take action and we have to repave it. Very disappointed. Thumbs down.

    Reply
    • Hello Brian – thanks for your comment.

      The costs of re-paving a highway can be very expensive – making seal coating an important maintenance application in pavement preservation – it’s a great way to economically extend the service life of BC highways. Using seal coating applications can extend the life of the pavement by about 5 years.

      Even though it may appear that there is nothing wrong with the highway, there are often actually surface deficiencies that, if left untreated, will result in water penetration which, in turn will result in pot holes and alligator cracking of the surface. By seal coating a distressed paved highway, we seal the asphalt imperfections from harmful water intrusion and provide a uniform (and ultimately) highly skid resistant surface.

      During the construction phase of the seal coating process, loose aggregate and dust are created, and we provide notice to motorists of the construction work and ask that motorists be patient while travelling through our work zones as the benefits of the end results are significant.

      We have used this treatment on many highways in the Southern Interior Region – Hwy 33 Beaverdell to Rock Creek (summer 2015); Hwy 23 Shelter Bay to Revelstoke (summer 2016); Hwy 6 Angel Falls to Gold Pan Café (summer 2017); Hwy 3 Kootenay Pass to Summit Cr (summer 2018).

      While we understand that this isn’t the most popular resurfacing method; it is a key tool in our pavement preservation toolbox and one that we will continue to use in specific cases. Over a relatively short period of time the road will become smoother and in most cases the public will not be able to differentiate between the seal coated portions and conventional paved.

      We hope that this helps answer some of your questions about sealcoating. If you have any other questions or concerns, we would be happy to help answer them. Thanks again for reaching out to us here. Safe travels.

      Reply
  25. We just got home from a trip to Hedley and they were seal coating between Hedley and Princeton. The silty mess covering our truck I can deal with, what we are not going to be responsible for are the tar specks which cover the entire lower half of our white truck which do not wash off. Would like a recommendation as what our next move should be.

    Reply
    • Good afternoon Stve and thank you for connecting with us here regarding your concern.

      We shared your comment with our local area staff and they let us know that after the recent initial completion of seal coating between Hedley and Princeton heavy rains prevented the seal coat from curing, resulting in the emulsion not fully setting. This could have speckled vehicles when rocks kicked up during travel. The contractor is fully responsible for any emulsion deposits and/or rock damage caused as a result and any vehicle claims caused from the seal coating should be directed to OK Industries: https://www.islandpaving.com/divisions

      Again, we thank you for bringing this to our attention.

      Reply
      • I too like the last poster have just returned through the Hedley project. Traveling West on the 15th of Sept, pilot car rolling through basically oil coated gravel with a long line of vehicles ranging from transport trucks to motorcycles. All at speeds from 60-90 kmh. At least it was one way traffic. Returning on Sept 18th now east bound, through the pouring rain, middle of the day, NO pilot car, NO cautionary road signs, suggesting reduced speeds, NO workers, NO equipment, NO new road markings, old ones barley visible, and gravel in places completely covering the roadways. Two way traffic with no control through kilometers of poor roadway resulting in a cracked windshield, pitted paint on my trailer and frustration knowing that my tax dollars are paying for this poorly executed and monitored project. Surely there must be a better solution to what ever it is this project was expected to accomplish. I would be all in favor of a complete road overhaul rather than the mess this project is. And my damage? THis is somehow my responsibility? I would look forward to your response.

        on the entire stretch of the seal coating project.

        Reply
        • Hello T – thanks for your comment.

          As you are aware from reading the previous comment, after the recent initial completion of seal coating between Hedley and Princeton heavy rains prevented the seal coat from curing, resulting in the emulsion not fully setting. This could have speckled vehicles when rocks kicked up during travel. The contractor is fully responsible for any emulsion deposits and/or rock damage caused as a result and any vehicle claims caused from the seal coating should be directed to OK Industries: https://www.islandpaving.com/divisions

          Again, we thank you for bringing this to our attention.

          Reply
  26. I agree with may of the comments above. The surface after seal coating is awful – rough, noisy and will wear tires much more quickly. I travelled in both directions on Highway 3 in the last few days and a) the pilot vehicles were NOT travelling slowly – how does 80 kph fit with your policy? b) the amount of loose gravel was appalling. I examined my car at the completion of the journey and I have discolouration of the lower mouldings, chips galore and a major deterioration in the under body areas. This is a poorly thought out and badly executed program that will cost drivers dearly.

    Reply
    • We shared your comment with our local area staff and they let us know that after the recent initial completion of the Sunday Summit (Area) seal coat on September 6th, the contractor released the 24 hour traffic control for motorists to resume at normal speeds. Heavy rains came on September 8th and 9th loosening some of the fresh sealcoat aggregate which has accumulated mainly on the lane lines and shoulder areas. Loose aggregate on the lane lines and roadway will cause vehicle damage with traffic travelling at 100 Km/h. The contractor has been alerted to the situation and has investigated the site to report that they will organize further cleanup in the next few days.

      Any vehicle claims caused from the seal coating should be directed to OK Industries: https://www.islandpaving.com/divisions

      Reply
  27. How can you do seal coating on a gravel road. The road in front of my house was a paved road but it fell apart and now they took all the pavement out and filled it with just loads of gravel. They said they are preparing it for seal coating. It’s a road in a subdivision outside a town called Houston.

    Reply
    • Hi Marianne – thanks for connecting with us here. Do you know if the road is under our jurisdiction, or the municipality of Houston? If it does belong to us, we encourage you to connect with local area staff to get more information on the plan for seal coating. Here’s the contact info for our closest office:
      Bulkley-Stikine District
      Bag 5000, 3726 Alfred Avenue
      Smithers, BC V0J 2N0
      250 847-7403

      Reply
  28. Great that you reply to any question asked. I see there is no question regard WHERE sealcoat is to be used. Is there any criteria for an urban or semi-urban setting? All data seems to point to use on HIGHWAYS not urban roadways. Is there a site where we can see where and how the “road repair” strategy is determined?

    Reply
    • Hello Allan,

      As the ministry responsible for provincial highways (and a selection of other roads which fall outside municipal jurisdiction) we focus primarily on numbered highways.
      If you know the municipality having jurisdiction for a specific road, we encourage you to contact them directly regarding their strategy. If you would like more information on a specific stretch of road under our jurisdiction, we can share local district office contact information with you, and you are more than welcome to contact our staff directly with a question.

      Reply
  29. If a thicker coat of tar were to be used, when the rocks were dumped on top of it they would compress further into the tar allowing a smoother surface. I didn’t think that the tar was as thick as the tar in the pictures. The temperature for the day has a large bearing on the surface as well as if the tar cools to quickly the rocks don’t compress as deeply leaving a very rough surface. I can see the advantages but I also see a surface that is now hard to walk, push a baby buggy on and ride a bike. The surface has to be hard on the vehicle tires as compared to a smooth ashpault surface. Due to the roughness of the surface the vehicle noises created by the tires almost gives you the impression the vehicle is going to enter your home. Personally I think it is a cost saving gesture in a less dense automobile invironment. Do the larger centres as Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, Kamloops get the same treatment.

    Reply
  30. I agree it’s much cheaper than repaving, making your budget look much better. I do wonder why to date no one has published a true cost. By true cost I am talking about a combined cost of window repair and replacement and premature rust due to chipped paint? I do know that you do not pay any of that cost; even ICBC does not admit the true cost of seal coating as the consumer simply pays both the deductible and the high premiums as costs go up.

    In the end as a taxpayer, I am not convinced by the artificial costs vs real costs, as to the true cost to consumers.

    Reply
    • Hi Keith,

      Thank you for your comment. We can certainly understand your concern, unfortunately we are truly unable to give you a combined cost of damages to vehicles from aggregate used in sealcoating. Have you asked ICBC for more comprehensive information directly?

      Reply
  31. Hello, I see that you are very intimate to reply to each commenter, road safety is important, but with the staff of your responsible person, the road you are responsible for must be safe!

    Reply
  32. This is some really good information about how a seal coating works on a highway. I didn’t realize that a seal coating has water in it. I didn’t realize that the water evaporates when it hits the ground. I wonder if that makes it easy to spread it on the road.

    Reply
  33. We the tax payer are fed up with the seal coating on bc highway just because you want to
    Get a bigger paycheque
    No more you have the equipment use it

    Reply
    • Hi Art,
      Thanks for your comment. While it would be great to pave all BC roads, all of the time, the truth is not all roads need repaving and seal-coating often does the trick. Paving is also much more expensive and time consuming than paving and because our budget is fixed, we have to prioritize paving work across the province in a fiscally responsible way. That said, is there a particular area which you have concerns about? We would be happy to share your concern with a local area manager for review.

      Reply
  34. I came upon an accident last week on the Alaska Hwy, in which a motorcycle tourist lost control & DIED as a result, on a freshly seal coated road that did not have the excess pea gravel swept off but left for the traveling public to beat off themselves. This irresponsible practice goes on every year & as far as I can see is only a cost saving exercise used instead of using packers & sweeping immediately leaving a road surface that isn’t deadly treacherous for motorcycles. Highways in Alaska are seal coated as well but the process is completed in a day with packers & sweepers savings lives, windshields & completely avoidable accidents.

    Reply
    • Hello Richard,

      Thank you for connecting with us here to share your concern. We forwarded your comment directly to the road area manager responsible for the BC portion of the Alaska Highway. He told us that he had not had any fatalities on his portion of the road in over a year and connected with his Public Works Canada counterpart to confirm if there had been any fatalities or sealcoating on the federal section of the highway. Public Works Canada is looking into your comment further and will get back to us. We did find a report of a fatality on the Yukon section of the highway, perhaps this is what you were referring to? If this is the case, that stretch of the road is outside of our jurisdiction and you might want to connect directly with the Yukon government to voice your concern directly.

      To address your concerns with sealcoating, our area manager confirmed what we have stated in this blog. Fresh coated sites are signed up with warning signs warning about loose material and dust. Pneumatic rollers are used to compact the seal and once it has cured it is swept before applying the next layer of seal or before opening the site back up to full speed traffic. Slower traffic is required to enhance site safety due to the risk of loose materials, dust (reduced visibility), worker safety and to prevent fresh placed material from breaking out of the bond while curing.

      On the other hand, if only cracks in the pavement are sealed using crack seal or spray patching, the operation will change based on what type of crack seal is done.

      Most crack seal operations are highly mobile work sites and will not necessarily require compaction of the seal. The blend is applied as a topical protector and the traffic will work it into the crack. Once the underlying emulsion is cured into the crack, the blend cover will be swept off in over the following days. Warning signs of the hazards are still left in place.

      In a spray patch operation a different type of oil and materials are used in the process and will require a small packer to pack the oil-chip mix in for ride smoothness and extend the life of the spray patch. The big difference is sealing of the crack vs. seal and topical covering of the crack. We assume that is what you have observed.

      We hope that this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions or concerns. Safe travels.

      Reply
  35. So the real problem with this coating … Increased loose rocks tacking out your windshield , Increased noise pollution to residents within a kilometer of a hyway ,Increased gas consumption due to increased rolling resistance , Decreased life of tires (driving on gravel does chew them up quickly … In Alberta it was Dubbed Klein pavement, another Conservative failure ..

    Reply
  36. Just drove from Revelstoke to Shelter Bay on Hwy 23 S. Sealcoating in progress. Very disappointed as I bicycle on this road along with many others. Sealcoated roads are rough for road bikes and take away the pleasure of riding in a big way. Too bad, this was one of Revelstoke road bike riders prime destination. A notice from MoT would have been appreciated before the start of the work.
    Also, we missed the ferry at shelter bay by 5 minutes this afternoon due to the pilot car driver not starting the held up traffic in time. We were 10km away from the ferry (arrived there with about 30mins to spare), we were told that it should take 17 mins or so to make it to the ferry. Why the pilot car driver didn’t start us up with a few minutes to spare is beyond me… A lot of people were upset. Come on, it’s not rocket science! There’s only one ferry per hour, get the traffic being held up to the ferry with a few minutes to spare instead of a few minutes after it’s left the dock. I get the sense that these workers don’t really care… Or else they’re as dumb as a sack of nail.

    Reply
    • Hello Sylvain,

      Thank you for connecting with us and sharing your concerns about the recent sealcoat work on Hwy 23S.

      We spoke with the local area manager who informed us that the project manager responsible for the seal coating in question emailed the Revelstoke Cycling Association this past winter, advising them of the planned work. We adjusted the treatment to accommodate for cyclists as best we could, knowing this to be a popular cycling route. Seal coating prevents deterioration of the road surface and in this case gives the road an additional 5-10 years of service.

      Regarding the traffic delay, the work zone does require single lane alternating traffic, and the use of pilot vehicles. The wait may have been due to clearing oncoming traffic and/or positioning of construction equipment. The crews are well aware of the ferry schedule and have been asked to give traffic heading to the ferry priority. This instance may have been an anomaly. As indicated on DriveBC and several message signs on H23 and the TCH, delays of 20 minutes are to be expected. We hope this helps. Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions. Safe travels!

      Reply
  37. This is great information about sealcoating. It can provide many years of use before having to completely repaving the road. I am so glad you broke down the process what happens the materials used. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  38. I’ve always wondered why pilot cars throttle traffic flow. It seems really important to keep everyone safe, so I’m glad they are there. I’ve been late due to road construction; however, the next time it happens, I’ll remember how it’s keeping windshields and drivers safe.

    Reply
  39. Thanks for this post, I didn’t know what sealcoating was before I read this. So they probably don’t do this on ordinary roads, just the big ones? The road by my house was redone one summer and I didn’t really know what they were doing some of the times, but I wasn’t watching them very much.

    Reply
  40. I was under the impression that sealcoating literally puts another coat on the road with some kind of special seal. Your article mentions that it’s just an asphalt-water mix, with gravel on top? I’m assuming the steamrollers are to get the gravel into the asphalt, and making the mix stick.

    Reply
    • Hi Travis,

      The road is “sealed” with the asphalt emulsion (AC/water blended). It fills and seals all the cracking and flaws in the road. It is sprayed on warm and hardens by the water evaporating over the next few days. The aggregate is the protective running surface. The aggregate is embedded in the emulsion around 60% to 75% to hold it in place and keep it from pulling out. The skill and “trick” is to get the embedment just right to keep the surface from looking flushed (little too much emulsion) or having it ravel because there is not enough emulsion. The embedment can be initially achieved using a rubber tire roller and then traffic is allowed to drive slowly over the loose aggregate surface to assist in the process. After a day the excess aggregate is removed by sweeping.

      Steamrollers (powered by steam) were discontinued in about the 1930s. Sealcoating does not use steel drum rollers. Rubber tire rollers are used to embed the aggregate because of the “kneading” action.

      Hope that this helps! Thank you for connecting with us here.

      Reply
  41. Awful!!! This sealcoating is a horrible surface. On the Kispiox Valley Road it is applied and left, left for weeks, not days and is no pilot car is used after it has been put down. I really dislike this surface as it cost me a new vehicle when some idiot decided to pass me and collided into me twice! Not to mention that the flying debre that causes chips on my paint/windows and oil on my vehicle. Now the value of my vehicle has depreciated and I am stuck with a damaged vehicle. I do not like this surface and there is no alternate route!

    Reply
    • Hi Arlene,

      Thanks for connecting with us here and sharing your concerns. We have shared your comment forward with the area office.

      Reply
    • Hi Arlene, to further follow up.
      Our ministry and our contractors try our best to complete seal coating projects in a timely, efficient and safe manner and we apologize if you’ve had a negative experience during this construction project. The District Operations Manager Bryan Crosby spoke with our contractor regarding the Kispiox Road and they have informed him that works were completed on Wednesday the 19th and final sweeping is starting. Similar to crack-sealing, seal coating requires a few days of curing before sweeping can occur.

      Our contractor follows ministry guidelines for traffic control that stipulates a 50km/h zone is established for seal coat projects and appropriate signage is in place to notify motorists. While we cannot promise a completely dust free condition during construction, this speed zone is designed to reduce traffic speed to a level that mitigates dust and flying gravel. It’s very unfortunate to hear that you were passed by vehicles in this zone and that these vehicles were exceeding the posted speed limit. If you see this again, I encourage you to notify the contractor on site, the district or contact the RCMP. If you feel your vehicle has sustained damage as a direct result of this project, you may file a claim with our claims department. http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/mot_org/const_maint/claims_unit/claims_unit.htm

      Seal Coating is a very effective method that allows us to maintain more kilometers of hard surface roads in a time of limited budgets. Without this sort of maintenance, the asphalt will deteriorate much faster. Often we will use seal coating as a method to hard surface gravel residential roads, thus offering residents the benefits of a dust free driving surface. These are often very low-volume roads that would otherwise never receive any sort of hard surface. Within the Bulkley Stikine District, we have several examples of completed seal coat projects that offer a quality driving surface, such as Highway 37A from Meziadin Junction to Stewart and numerous side roads in the Smithers area.

      Reply
  42. Remaining gravel seems to be a problem after seal coating, better gravel removal when the process has cured may be the answer.

    Reply
  43. I live on East Sooke Rd and two days ago we had a paved road now we have a gravel road, 6.5 Km of gravel road. This surface is not very good for motorcycles and worse for bicycles. Is there a plan to pave the road properly in the near future? In the mean time I’m putting our bikes away.

    Dave Gunn
    6805 East Sooke Rd

    Reply
    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for the enquiry. Although the existing road surface now has a lot of loose aggregate, hence your comment of it being a gravel road, this aggregate will be broomed aside in the coming days. The road surface underwent a rehab process called sealcoating. Here’s a link to more information on what sealcoating is and why we do it: http://tranbc.ca/2015/05/14/what-is-sealcoating-and-why-are-we-doing-it-on-bc-highways/#sthash.tYxTpZwb.dpbs. The first stage of that process is placing aggregate over fresh asphalt oils and over a period of a couple days that aggregate bonds together and to the road surface. After that bonding period, the remaining loose aggregate is swepped from the surface. A local example of what the end product will look like is available on Kemp Lake Road just west of Sooke. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  44. Very disappointed with the seal coating. I drive each way on that road all year round every 6 days. Eight months of the year I ride my motorcycle the new road surface will make it much more dangerous with the loose gravel then ever before. I now ride over to Osoyoos instead of highway 33 as I am sure after one attempt on hwy 33 most motorcyclists will.

    Reply
    • Hi Tyler, once the seal coat has completely cured and has been fully swept there is no reason for motorcyclists to avoid Highway 33. It is still a paved highway although the ride will not be as smooth. In fact, in wet weather a seal coated road provides a highly skid resistant surface.

      Reply
  45. Awful .
    Had to drive between Rock Creek and Kelowna two weeks ago. As soon as we got beyond the pilot car area and drove on what was suppose to be done I had gravel hitting me from the car in front and some cars going by.
    I now have a cracked windshield plus two more chips as well as chips all over the hood and fenders. The rocks are so sharp they broke right through the clear coat and the paint. Who’s going to pay for all that. Oh right ME. Thanks Seal coat ,great job. NOT

    Reply
    • Hi Bruce, we followed up with the ministry rep for the project in regards to the loose rock on Highway 33. Typically, after a seal coat has sufficiently cured, a contractor will sweep the affected area and allow pilot car controlled traffic to further consolidate the aggregate. After this process the contractor sweeps the entire pilot car controlled area once again removing some dislodged material in preparation for the application of temporary center-line marks and if the seal coat appears to be stable, the contractor will release the traffic to reduced or posted speeds. After a couple of days of unobstructed traffic some material collects on the shoulders and the contractor cleans this off as well. The amount of aggregate that comes loose after a seal coat is released to traffic at posted speed is a function of the rock embedment and overall strength of the seal coat. For this reason, the Ministry addresses all vehicle damage to the contractor’s attention in hopes that the complaint gets resolved.

      We’ve recently inspected Highway 33 and additional sweeping has been requested.

      Vehicle damage claims can be sent to: Arrowsmith Road Maintenance Ltd.: 250-652-5535

      Reply
  46. I bicycle with a few other people down highway 33 to Grand Forks every year from Kelowna. I drove it on June 25th and it felt like I was driving on gravel road the on the way from Rock Creek to Beaverdell.. I am not sure what portion of the highway was completed because it all felt the same in the speed controlled area and non speed controlled area.. rough!! My question is how will the shoulders and road be when the job is complete and will it be bicycle friendly.

    Reply
    • Hello Cary,

      We spoke with the area manager who informed us that the road will be completed next week, and while it won’t be as smooth as a paved surface, it does provide a skid-resistant surface and will help the road from aging prematurely. The shoulders will be smoother but will be in generally the same condition they were in in prior to the sealcoating. The Kettle Valley Railway/ Columbia and Western Railway routes is a great alternative to the highway and has a maintained cycle path that crosses between Kelowna and Grand Forks. This route is not paved but it is a good maintained gravel route with many spectacular views and some fantastic history detailing the early days of rail transportation in the area. Here is the link: http://www.kettlevalleyrailway.ca/

      Hope that this helps!

      Reply
  47. I’ve heard a lot about seal coating being good for the life of roads. It even looks better that way! It does make the road a bit rougher at times, but I definitely think it’s worth it to extend the life of the road. After all, building a whole new roads causes a lot bigger of a delay than a seal-coating process. Thanks for the information!

    Reply
  48. I am very sad to hear you are sealcoating the southern half of Highway 33 next week. The resulting abrasive surface will make it impossible for me to ride my motorcycle on it without shredding it’s tires. In my experience sealcoating always make a terrible road surface. It’s extremely abrasive and noisy and hard on tires. I wish you would just lay down a layer of nice smooth asphalt.

    Reply