Chip Seal Season!

Having never lived outside of Florida, I knew there would be new seasons to experience in Idaho. In Florida, there are four seasons, but they are different. There is Summer, Summer too, Hurricane Season and Miami Dolphin’s Suck But We still Hate the Jets season. I expected in Idaho to experience Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. I had no clue though, about Chip Seal Season.

As summer hit Boise, I started seeing these little shacks pop up on every intersection offering car windshield repairs. That was strange and it mystified me, until one day the highway I was driving on suddenly became a massive unmarked pile of loose pebbles. No lanes, no markings, just a pile of rocks! Any car driving over 15 miles per hour was flinging pebbles out like machine gun fire. Dink! Went my windshield, with a nice large crack in it. What the Fudge?

I often complained about Florida highways, but that all stopped when I arrived in Boise and met Ada County Highway District.

These professionals are responsible for apparently chip sealing every major highway in Ada county, which includes Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Garden City and a bunch of other towns. Using state of the art technology, they can lay waste to a highway in a matter of days, then leave it for a couple of weeks to “settle” while everyone drives over the field of pebbles.
While chip sealing is an old and honored tradition it is not meant for well traveled highways and byways. This year, ACHD are chip sealing Five Mile Road, Franklin, and Cloverdale Road among others. These are not quiet roads, but busy highways. Franklin Road is four lane! At least it was last week, now everyone is on the honor system, trying to remember where the lanes used to be!

Apparently ACHD work like frenzied hedge hogs every summer in the 100 degree heat to get everything finished before the ice comes in winter. Ada county residents help out by driving their cars on the pebble roads to smooth out the roadways and scatter the rejected loose fitting stones. Who knew?

Of course, after they finish the highways they are sort of smooth, except for the manhole covers which for some reason they place smack in the middle of the highways. (Not along the side of the roads.) I am assuming there is some secret government underground facility beneath all the streets in Ada County, as literally every ten yards there is another collection of manhole covers to dodge around. They either stick up slightly or sink down and riding over them creates a nice bump. Lord knows, there are plenty of other bumps on the highways here so I try to avoid these.
By the way, here is an article in the Idaho Statesman about the Chip Seal process.