Chelan County road crews are kicking off construction season with the first steps in the chip-sealing process. 

Workers will begin crack sealing in the Sleepy Hollow Heights area as well as on Olalla Canyon Road in the Cashmere Road District this week. 

Chelan County spokesperson Jill FitzSimmons says crack sealing is a process where hot sealant is filled into cracks in the roadway to prevent against further water damage. 

"They're going to be standing there, and they've got wands and they're filling in the cracks, those alligator cracks that you see on the roadway," said FitzSimmons. "And if you see them doing that, then that means they're going to be back for pre-level work next, and then chip sealing on top of that." 

FitzSimmons says drivers should be cautious when they see the crack sealing crews. 

"When motorists come upon crack sealing, that's a moving operation. So, there will be flaggers and one lane traffic. So, there will be minor traffic delays." 

Pre-level work involves crews applying a thin layer of asphalt over roads to fill in ruts and low spots in preparation for chip sealing. 

Chip sealing is a coating of liquid asphalt and gravel applied to an existing roadway. According to the county, chip sealing, when all the steps are completed, is effective for seven to 10 years. 

To allow each process to cure – and for efficiency – each step of the process is completed throughout the county prior to moving onto the next one. 

FitzSimmons says actual chip sealing will begin on county roads by the last week in May. 

The chip-sealing process in Chelan County typically starts before Memorial Day and ends just after Labor Day. 

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