Chip Seal on US36

*** 8-15-2010 Update ***

County road chip seal projects begin Monday

Boulder County, Colo. – The Boulder County Transportation Department will apply chip seal to three county roads beginning this Monday, Aug. 16.

2010 chip seal schedule:
• Nelson Road from U.S. 36 to 75th Street, Aug. 16-20
• Olde Stage Road from Lee Hill Drive to Lefthand Canyon, Aug. 23-24
• Cherryvale Road from Baseline Road to State Highway 170, Aug. 25-26

The chip seal projects will cause minor traffic delays. Schedules are subject to change due to weather and other factors. Visit for updates.

All three roads are part of popular cycling routes. “We are aware that chipping the roads makes for a less-than-pleasant cycling experience and have made some changes to our chipping product and process this year in an attempt to improve the rideability,” Transportation Director George Gerstle said. “However, there will still be impacts and cyclists should expect poor riding conditions on these roads for the next four weeks.”

Applying chip seal to county roads is a cost-effective means of extending their life. Adding stone chips to pavement after it has sat for more than five years extends the pavement life considerably, allowing for more use of the original overlay. Additionally, the cost of chipping a road is a small fraction of the cost of new paving and chip sealing uses less oil and less material than paving.

Dan Rowland, Communications Specialist
Boulder County Commissioners’ Office

*** 8-11-2010 Update ***
I was riding this morning and of course I had to head east to avoid the chip seal on US36. It was actually a nice change. I was heading west on Nelson road and there it was just west of 75th another large sign warning of more chip seal work. Starting August 16th it looks like Nelson road will be getting a chip seal face lift. Plan accordingly.

As I was riding north on US36 yesterday just north of the Broadway / US36 intersection I saw a large road sign. It was one of those informational signs that rotates a message. It looks like US36 heading north out of Boulder will be getting chip seal treatment this coming week August 10th through the 12th. I am sure most people know what chip seal is but if you dont here you go:

Chip seal is a surface treatment for asphalt pavements that extends the life of the road by sealing out moisture and adding a new driving surface. The process involves spraying liquid asphalt on the roadway and then covering it with 3/8" diameter chips. The liquid asphalt hardens with the chips embedded in it, creating the new, sealed surface. Excess chips are swept up within 24 hours after the treatment is done.

News Item: 


Chip and Seal on the best cycling roads in Boulder

Quote: "The highways are built for automobiles...I agree with annoymous, go find a nice smooth dirt road away from the main highways for your hobby"

This is not true. The roads in Boulder City and Boulder County are for all modes of transportation, that's why we have created bike lanes, wide shoulders, painted bike symbols, and so on. Many of us commute to work daily on a bicycle as well as compete in events or just ride for fun, just like many of us do in our cars and motorcycles. A "hobby" at times, but at others not. The issue here is making our roads safe and even enjoyable for everyone. The chip and seal that was done on 36 pretty much eliminated the wide shoulder bike lane used by commuters, racers, weekend warriors and even runners. It was a bad decision and the only way to ensure it does not happen again is to put a cyclist in the commissioners office, or get the current commissioners to agree to a fix.

Hwy 36 = CDOT not Boulder County.

Hwy 36 = CDOT not Boulder County.

Hopefully the Boulder County Sh$t Seal will done better. If it is a cycling route, then the road/shoulder needs to be swept daily until all loose chips are gone. Might be a week, might be a month of sweeping. Needs to be included in the bid price.

US36 Chip Seal

I have ridden the new chip seal a few times now on US36. The chip really is not that bad but having no lines on the road is dangerous. I dont think drivers realize that they are actually driving to the right of the white line. It is also a little deceiving because the actual chip seal material bleeds off the road making the road look substantially wider at some points. Thank god its only about a 3 mile stretch because my hands start to tingle a little bit.


I have a solution to everyone that says that riding on chip and seal is uncomfortable. Instead of pumping up your tires to 120+ psi before your ride ride at 90-100 psi. This will smooth out the feel of the road.


Granted 120 psi makes it easier to pedal, but on most Boulder County roads there is gravel etc in the shoulder. Run 25-28 tires at 75-80psi and you will have a much safer ride, especially if you hit sand at speed.

Press Release on Chip and Seal from County

Attention Boulder County Cyclists
Boulder County will be applying chip seal to three County Roads this year. Work is anticipated to begin on Monday, August 16. All three are popular cycling routes.

We are aware that "chipping" the roads makes for a less-than-pleasant cycling experience and have made some changes to our chipping product and process this year in an attempt to improve the rideability. However, there will still be impacts and cyclists should expect poor riding conditions on these roads for the next four weeks.

2010 Chip Seal Schedule
Nelson Road, US36 (foothills highway) to 75th Street - August 16 - 20 (Monday to Friday)
Olde Stage Road, Lee Hill to Lefthand Canyon - August 23 & 24 (Monday and Tuesday)
Cherryvale Road, Baseline to Highway 170 (Marshall Drive)- August 25 & 26 (Wednesday to Friday)

The Benefits of Chip Seal
The benefits of the chip seal process make the practice very compelling. Overall advantages are three fold: (1) Adding stone chips to pavement after the new pavement has sat for more than 5 years extends the pavement life considerably allowing us to get more use out of our original overlay. (2) The cost of chipping a road is a small fraction of the cost of new paving. And (3) chip sealing uses less oil and less material than paving. Approximately 3 percent of all the oil used in this country is used on road paving. While not a large percent, any reduction in the amount of oil used on our roadways reduces the impacts of extracting, importing, and transporting this limited resource.

All schedules are subject to change due to weather or other mitigating factors. More specific information on each project will be provided as it becomes known. Please use caution when riding and remember, "Courtesy is Contagious"!!!!

Tim Swope, AICP
CIP Coordinator
Boulder County Transportation

Chip seal will be good for these roads in the long run.

Why are so many people on here complaining about the chip seal? As a cyclist who rides these roads 3-4 times per week, I applaud the county's decision to chip seal these roads to prevent them from deteriorating.

Reasons why chip seal is great!

1)Extra friction means motorists have to slow down along with the cyclists.

2)You get a better workout.

3)Potholes don't end up forming on these roads. I'd rather have a little bit more resistance on my ride than buttery smooth pavement with regularly spaced cracks or potholes. Broken pavement not chip seal can cause people to loose control of their bikes (or worse cars).

4)Chip seal is a lighter road color which doesn't absorb as much heat on hot summer days.

5)Less oil is used in the process.

6)The process is cheaper, meaning we spend less money as taxpayers.

7)The road actually improves with age as the chips are pushed into the pavement and the rock is worn down.

Wait a few weeks and ride this road once they put the lines down. I think you'll find this was a good decision the county made.

More Chipseal

Looks like more and more roads are getting the treatment. I road Cherryvale between Marshall Rd and South Boulder Rd and that has been newly chipsealed. There are no lines on the road and there are a loose sections depending on how close you get to the edge of the road.

I also road Olde Stage Rd from Lefthand Canyon over to Lee Hill Road. Be very careful descending there were small piles of loose rocks towards the stop sign at Lee Hill.