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Multnomah County to spend $600,000 on chip-sealing maintenance for rural roads.

COURTESY PHOTO: MULTNOMAH COUNTY - A road crew worker compresses a mix of gravel and oil with a rolling machine in this undated photo taken in Multnomah County. After sustaining a brutal drubbing over the winter, the area's transportation network is getting some much needed TLC from local road crews.

COURTESY PHOTO: MULTNOMAH COUNTY - Workers inspect chip-sealing upkeep on a rural road in Multnomah County. And for Multnomah County, summer is the season for chip sealing, an oil-and-gravel process that leaves pavement gleaming.

Here's how it works. Road workers spread a sticky black oil over the existing pavement, add a thin layer of gravel on top, and then compress the mix with a rolling machine.

"To your or my eye, (the road) looks like it has been freshly paved," noted Mike Pullen, a spokesman for Multnomah County. "(Chip sealing) is cheaper than regular paving, but it only works on roads that have light traffic."

"We wouldn't use (this process) on Marine Drive, which has a lot of traffic," Pullen continued.

For high-capacity roads, crews generally scrape up the old asphalt before applying tar. But a bevy of rural roads will be chip-sealed in the coming days.

Here's a breakdown of the upcoming rural road work planned in East Multnomah County.

• Wednesday, July 26: Southeast Oxbow Drive, Southeast Lusted Road

• Thursday, July 27: Northeast Mershon Road

• Friday, July 28: Southeast Lusted, Northeast Mershon, Southeast Oxbow

• Monday, July 31: Southeast Oxbow Drive

• Tuesday, August 1: Southeast Lusted Road

• Wednesday, August 2: Southeast Lusted Road

• Thursday, August 3: Southeast 282nd Avenue

• Friday, August 4: Southeast Lusted, Southeast Oxbow and Southeast 282nd

• Monday, August 7: Southeast 282nd Avenue

• Tuesday, August 8: Southeast 282nd, SE Lusted and Southeast Oxbow

• Wednesday, August 9: Northeast Mershon and Southeast 282nd

All roads will remain open in both directions, but motorists should expect slight delays as they wait for directions from flaggers. Work begins as early as 6 a.m. and should wrap each day by 4:30 p.m.

Pullen cautions that more loose gravel may be on the roadway before road crews return to sweep them clear. Crews will also return later to paint lane stripes.

The cost of the project, which includes work on the west side of the Willamette River, is estimated at $600,000.

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