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Milwaukie begins street-sealing project

Milwaukie’s Streets Department began a program this month to seal cracks in more than seven miles of the city’s roadways.

City officials see neighborhood streets as an infrastructure asset valued at more than $38 million and want to invest in protecting them. Milwaukie Streets Supervisor Jamie Clark noted that the sealing project only costs $65,000 annually.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: CITY OF MILWAUKIE - Jim Bunting of the City of Milwaukie's Streets Department works in various neighborhoods this month to seal off cracks.By using a polymer rubberized sealant this year rather than an emulsion sealant, Clark hopes citizens will see streets more enduring against freezing water causing crack expansion in the winter. Water destroys pavement, making maintaining streets in the Northwest a challenge by creating instabilities in the roadway’s base. With an aggressive crack-sealing program, Milwaukie plans to slow down the deterioration that results from water entering the underlying base and sub-base layers.

“It’s not much different in principle from sealing your deck at home every two years,” Clark said.

City crews use a flexible rubberized asphalt material that bonds to the crack walls and prevents surface water intrusion. Streets Department employees started sealing roadways in the Linwood neighborhood’s Cedarcrest area last week, and then will move to 34th Avenue from Washington Street to Lake Road in the Lake Road neighborhood in the latter part of July. In August, the crew will focus its effort in the Brookside area of the Lewelling neighborhood.

To avoid the need for detours, a travel lane will be preserved in the work areas. Clark assured residents that the newly sealed roadways are safe to drive, bike or step on.

“It looks shiny, and it looks like there’s an oil slick in the area, but once crews have moved on, it’s not going anywhere,” she said.

The street system network was evaluated in 2011 and a condition rating was assigned to each street in the city. The city is targeting roads that can be sealed to prevent them from deteriorating further and requiring grind and inlay asphalt reconstruction.

If members of the public have any other questions about the Streets Department, Clark encourages them to call her at 503-786-7673.




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