Next steps in failed Tahoe road resurfacing to be discussed Thursday | SierraSun.com

Next steps in failed Tahoe road resurfacing to be discussed Thursday

Don Spear, deputy director for El Dorado County’s Community Development Agency Transportation Division, Maintenance and Operations, spoke during an April 13 community meeting in Tahoma about the failed project.

TAHOMA, Calif. — If people were to venture down Springs Court in Tahoma this week, they would find El Dorado County roads crews raking up and shoveling small black chip rock from the yards of homeowners dotted along the road.

Next week, the county roads crew will be combing over private property plotted along McKinney and Hiloave roads.

The week after, more roads still.

Indeed, residents and homeowners within the West Shore communities of Tahoma and Rubicon are still feeling the effects of the failed chip seal project performed last summer on roughly 21 miles of roads.

In an effort to update the community on what's next, El Dorado County will conduct another community meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at Marie Sluchak Community Park on the corner of Pine Street and Wilson Avenue in Tahoma.

As of early June, the El Dorado County Transportation Division was working with the California Pavement Preservation Center at CSU Chico to determine what caused the failure and find possible solutions.

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The county is working on getting contracts together to put test strips down, Bard Lower, director of the El Dorado County Transportation Division, told the Sierra Sun in an early June interview.

This, Lower said, will involve the county running its snow removal operations on the strips to test if the chip rock detaches from the road.

The county plans to do two test strips — slurry seal and microsurfacing — and potentially a third type, Lower said.

"Until we get the test strips done, we don't know what we're going to do for sure," Lower said regarding the county's course of action for correcting the issue. "Until we have feedback on the test strips and know something is going to work and not fail again, then we'll look into taking care of the entire area.

"We want to make sure the coating we use takes care of the problem. We're trying to make sure it works."

In the resurfacing project last summer, the emulsion failed to hold down the chip rock, resulting in swaths of chips detaching from the roads and exposing the sticky oil below.

As a result, vehicles that drove over exposed oil patches tracked the adhesive onto driveways, and pets that stepped in them brought oil and chips into people's residences.

While a slurry seal project was initially favored (estimated to cost between $600,000 to $700,000), the county has since taken a step back from that idea, according to previous reports.

Considering the ongoing investigation, and the fact that the test strips have yet to be done, cost estimates to correct the issue remains unknown, Lower said this month.

In the meantime, Lower said, the county is continually sanding the "tacky" areas of the roads — "where it sticks to your feet when you walk on it" — and cleaning chip rock out of private properties.

As of now, according to the county, there is no definitive timeline of how long the cleanup process will take.

If you go

What: Chip seal community meeting

When: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, June 16

Where: Marie Sluchak Community Park (corner of Pine St. and Wilson Ave.)

More info: Call El Dorado County offices at 530-573-7930