VIDEO: County places test strips to correct Tahoe road surfacing failure |

VIDEO: County places test strips to correct Tahoe road surfacing failure

Roads such as 10th Avenue in Tahoma reveal sticky oil patches as a result of the failed chip seal project.
Kaleb M. Roedel / Sierra Sun |

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El Dorado County’s updates the information on chip seal cleanup and resurfacing efforts every Monday online at the following web address — — where residents can learn more about the issue.

TAHOMA, Calif. — El Dorado County officials are still working to clean up and reverse the damage from last year’s chip-seal failure on 21 miles of roads in Tahoma and Rubicon.

“We used the right material, it just didn’t perform the way it was supposed to,” Don Spear, Deputy Director of El Dorado County’s Transportation Division, said in an interview this week.

On Aug. 2, county officials began applying test strips of an alternative pavement treatment called “microsurfacing” to 250,000 square feet of roads on Sixth Street and Seventh Street, as well as sections of Elm Street and Oak Street.

“It’s a much stronger material,” said Spear.

He said that after the test strips have finished curing, the county will mimic the snow removal process to make sure the material can withstand the area’s winter conditions.

After that, they’ll assess whether they want to use the material on other roads or put down other test strips.

“The plan is to see how this handles through the rest of the winter,” he said. “If this performs as we’ve had before — (we’ve) done the same type of treatment in South Lake Tahoe and down in the Placerville area — then next spring, next summer, we’ll come back in and do all the streets.”

Spear said the cost of the test strips is around $0.26 per square foot, putting the total for the current test project at $63,000.

Last year, the county used a material known as chip seal — in which an adhesive substance it put onto the roads, followed by loose pavement.

That pavement is supposed to stay put, but when it snowed last year, the plows scraped much of it up, leaving sticky patches behind and loose pavement that community members said got into their yards, on their pets and into their homes.

County officials been trying to find a solution ever since.

The county has entered into legal negotiations with the contracting company used last year, but Spear said the details are confidential.

Meanwhile, a cleanup crew is still picking up last year’s mess by removing leftover pavement pieces from residents’ yards.

“I only have 14 employees here, so it isn’t like we’ve got 100 people to work with,” Spear said. “We’ve also been using (California Conservation Corps) crews, but unfortunately they’ve been out on fires recently.”

He said if residents wish to rake their own yard and have the piles of debris ready for collection, his team would be there in 48 hours to pick them up. Otherwise, the remainder of the cleanup process is expected to take a while.

Spear estimated that the cleanup efforts were only 40 percent complete.

“I don’t see it being finished this year, unfortunately,” he said.

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