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Apr 13

Spring and Our Secondary Road System

Posted on April 13, 2023 at 2:25 PM by Britt Nielsen

Spring Maintenance Blog

Every spring, the Linn County Secondary Road Department assesses the secondary road system to see what effects winter weather had and to plan the construction and maintenance season. Weather plays a big role in the annual maintenance plan, but so does budget, need, and material availability.

Typical springtime maintenance activities include blading, spot rocking, coring out and adding larger aggregate, pothole patching, paving, and more. Each type of road requires a different combination of maintenance activities. This blog post breaks down the road types and the common maintenance performed each year to help keep them in good shape.

Hard Surfaced Roads

Approximately 378 miles (or 33%) of Linn County’s road system is composed of hard surfaced roads. These roads are asphalt, concrete, or seal coated, and while all are “hard” they are composed of different materials. So what’s the difference? 

Asphalt, or “black-top,” is created when bitumen (a distillation of petroleum) is combined with sand or gravel to make a semi-solid material that hardens after application. Annual maintenance for asphalt roads includes crack-sealing, pothole patching, and overlays. 

Seal coat is a low-cost alternative to asphalt and uses a process of spreading oil and crushed aggregate to create a hard surface. Seal coat typically lasts five years and then it needs to be reapplied by road crews. Annual maintenance for seal coated roads includes pothole patching.

Concrete is a composite material made of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that hardens over time. Annual maintenance for concrete roads includes crack-sealing, pothole patching, and full depth pavement patching. 

Rock Roads

Most of the secondary road system in Linn County is made of rock. Each year, crews perform maintenance on more than 765 miles of rock roads. Annual maintenance activities include rock overlays, blading, spot rocking, and more. A map of the 2023 rock overlay projects can be found on the Linn County website.

View the 2023 Maintenance Plan.

In addition to maintenance, spring also means construction for the Secondary Road Department. Residents can stay informed of upcoming road construction projects and closures by signing up for notifications.

Learn more about the Secondary Road Department on the Linn County website.