Road Patrol: Tar and Chip Roads


Like many of us, roads need a tune-up after the long winter months. For this week’s Road Patrol, we see first hand how the West Virginia Division of Highways utilizes a specialized tool to fix area roads. 

The process is called tar and chip, which paving surface made from asphalt and stone.

DOH District 4 Maintenance Assistant Earl Gaskins said, “When it comes to a tar and chip road such as this, it’s hard to patch.  The patching doesn’t adhere to the original road surface and it’s a constant battle of trying to keep it patched.”

W.Va. DOH workers will instead use a zipper.

“It’s a specialized piece of equipment. There are only a few of them in the state and we share this with other districts and other organizations. When you get this it’s a privilege for the county and we try to take advantage of it,” Gaskins explained.

WBOY tagged along as the DOH worked to fix and repair Hidden Valley Road.

“This road is riddled with pot holes, it passed its life span and is no longer feasible to keep patching it. So, are going to zip it up,” said Gaskins. 

The zipper grinds down the pavement to the lowest surface level of the pothole.  Once the zipper passes through, there is no evidence of any existing potholes and it brings the road back to a solid foundation.

Thanks to the road bond, the DOH was able to add extra roads to its maintenance plan.

“We have a lot of tar and chip roads that need attention. We are trying to get to them systematically and with those increased funds it makes our job a lot easier,” Gaskins said.

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