NORTHFIELD CENTER — Chip and seal work in the Charter Lake area will be completed soon, but according to Township Trustee Paul Buescher some residents believe that is not the best thing to do to bring about smoother roads.

Buscher, however, said it is the best way to go for the township, and spokesmen for the Summit County engineer’s office concurred.

“First and foremost is the cost [for going that route],” said Buescher, noting the chip and seal project in the area is costing $104,000, but would have been $576,000 if new asphalt would have been put down.

“That’s money that we do not have,” he said. “Chip and seal brings about a savings of $472,000, and it is a much more efficient process since it lasts longer than asphalt.”

Deputy Director of Engineering Joe Paradise of the county engineer’s office agreed. “We fully support chip and seal as a cost-effective, self-healing process,” he said. “It will last from five to six years.”

Paradise explained chip and seal combines one or more layer(s) of asphalt with one or more layer(s) of fine aggregate. It is typically used on rural roads carrying lower traffic volumes.

The process involves evenly distributing a thin base of hot bitumen or asphalt onto an existing pavement and then embedding finely graded aggregate into it.

The aggregate is evenly distributed over the seal spray, then rolled into a smooth pavement surface. The surface is sealed with a top layer referred to as a fog seal or enrichment.

Paradise said because of the high humidity on Aug. 27-29 and recent rain, some fog sealing on the Charter Lake roads had to be delayed so the materials adhere properly, but he expects all of the work to be completed by the end of September.

He added since the Charter Lake work is just one part of a multi-phase project, the contractor also had to shift back and forth between various areas. “It just takes time, but all work should be done within a month,” he said.

Paradise said traffic has been maintained with the use of flaggers, but the project hasn’t caused any major traffic tie-ups. “There would be a lot more disruption with asphalt paving,” he noted.

He said some motorists don’t like having loose stones hitting the exterior of their vehicles, but that is usually a temporary hazard, because once fog sealing is completed, stones stick to the surface.

Buescher explained chip and seal is self-sealing and rarely requires crack sealing in the years after it is completed. “This is especially true after a harsh winter,” he added.

Meanwhile, Buescher said trustees have received complaints about some people slipping on the gravel along the roads or riding bicycles and getting hurt during the project. Additional complaints involve gravel in driveways and lawns.

“I even received a complaint from a resident who believed he had a right to vote on how Charter Lake roads are maintained,” Buescher said, adding that responsibility lies solely with township trustees.

“We’ve been utilizing the chip and seal process on our township roads for decades, and each time we begin, the same complaints arise and the same answers are given,” he continued. “After all is said and done, residents end up being very happy and satisfied.”

Buescher said residents must realize the township’s legal responsibility is to keep roadways sound and safe for vehicular travel.

“How we decide to do that is based on professional direction and cost, and that’s what we did with this project,” he explained.

“The Charter Lake chip and seal process is an ongoing construction project and as such, there are inherent risks and debris. These will not diminish until the project is completed. The bottom line two words here are: Caution and patience.”

As for residents’ concerns about upgrades on Olde Eight Road, Buescher said it is a county road and entirely the responsibility of the county.

“The road was chip and sealed because it will be fully repaved within a few years,” he said. “There’s no sense in repaving a road that’s going to be torn up in a few years.”

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or klahmers@recordpub.com