Summertime, and the livin’ is easy, and it’s also the time for the annual chip seal program to begin on Missoula’s streets.

Deputy Director of Public Works for Streets, Brian Hensel has details about the season road maintenance program.

“We have a distributor truck that sprays the hot oil on to the existing surface,” began Hensel. “What follows behind is a chip spreader which then applies a measured application of 3/8ths inch chips. The oil adheres to the street surface and it provides protection against UV deterioration, rain infiltration and also provides a friction course for improved traction in the winter.”

Hensel said the COVID 19 pandemic has forced his department to make some changes in how they notify the public before the chip sealing begins.

“One thing that’s a little different this year is that historically we’ve had Boy Scouts go out and deliver the chip seal flyers to all the adjacent residents on whatever streets we’re chip sealing, and this year because of COVID concerns we did not do that,” he said. “So, we’re going to have to depend on people visiting our website and the media getting the word out for us.”

Hensel warned that vehicles that are blocking the access for his crews to chip seal the streets will be towed.

“In the neighborhoods where we are doing the chip seal we’re going to put type two barricades with flyers that will indicate which street will be dome the following day,” he said. “We’re asking people to refrain from parking on the street on the scheduled chip seal day. If we still have the parked vehicles on the street we will have to tow them, but there won’t be a charge, there won’t be a ticket. We’ll just have to move them out of the way.”

The City will usually chip seal the last two weeks of July, depending on weather and other factors.