Crack Sealing: Rejuvenation Treatment for Roads?

Like everyone and everything else in the world, pavement doesn’t last forever.  Every year Seattle’s streets get older and develop more imperfections, like cracks.

But SDOT has ways to improve the condition and extend the life of our streets, postponing the day we need to repave or rebuild them.

Cracks to be sealed this summer

Water damages pavement when it seeps through cracks, then expands during cold weather.  One prevention treatment is crack sealing – filling cracks in the road with a flexible material to keep out water.  (‘sounds a bit like caulking around your tub to prevent water damage, doesn’t it?)

SDOT’s 2012 crack seal program plans to service about 100 blocks of streets.  If you lined up all the cracks on these streets end to end, they’d stretch over 13 miles, almost the length of Seattle from Shoreline to Tukwila. 

That’s a lot of cracks.

The roads to receive crack sealing in 2012 were all rated as relatively good in SDOT’s latest pavement condition assessment of Seattle’s arterials.  By crack sealing, we intend to maintain their current condition as long as possible.   The program also prioritized streets that have never received crack sealing and ensured a geographic balance around the City.

Like most preventative maintenance, crack sealing is faster and more cost-effective than repairing the damage after it’s done.   Another plus is that vehicles can use the street the same day as the procedure.  

This makes crack sealing the “outpatient surgery of road repair.”  It’s relatively quick, inexpensive and painless.  It just makes sense. 

And like a nourishing skin treatment, crack sealing makes everyone feel better.