Location: Armstrong Road at FM 157, Maypearl, Ellis Co., TX
Seal Coat ProgramOwner: Ellis County
County Commissioner PCT 3: Heath Sims
Road Superintendent: Lonnie Reavis
Material Suppliers: TXI Expanded Shale Lightweight Aggregate – 118 CYDS Type L Grade and Ergon Asphalt and Emulsions – 3,880 Gal. CRS 2P
The Story: Chip Seal a flex base county road to keep your constituents happy!
In the past few years, many counties have felt the burden of less tax revenues and continuously reduced budgets. Road maintenance has felt the brunt of those lost dollars. TXDOT is moving toward forced bid alternates to encourage competition and lower costs, while counties are looking to stretch their dollars and keep their citizens happy. Counties in Texas have more aggregate options than TXDOT because they don’t have to use state approved sources. Using quality products, proper techniques and best practice planning is how the county gets the most bang for its buck. Ellis County, due south of Dallas, has a population of 150,000 and has grown over 34% since 2000. In addition to the challenge of maintaining their existing road system, the demand to upgrade many other roads has increased.
Armstrong Road, north of Maypearl, TX, is an old limestone ex base road. In hot and dry times it became very dusty and brittle and when it rained, it became muddy, slick and dangerous. People were beginning to complain. The road is home to many residents and also saw increased traffic from drivers using it as “cut through” to get to Midlothian, Arlington and Dallas.
This .7 mile project was shot on the morning of May 26, 2011 using Ergon Asphalt’s CRS-2P emulsion and TXI’s Grade 3 lightweight aggregate. Both of these products go through a bid process with the county having the option to purchase due to price, availability and performance. The road was prepped the day before by sweeping as much of the dust and loose rock off the road as possible and then hit with the water truck for more dust control. The emulsion was placed at a .48 gallon/sq. yd. application rate then covered immediately by the lightweight grade 3 aggregate at a 1 cubic yard/ 90 sq. yd. spread rate.
It took the 10 man county crew an hour and a half to finish the estimated $14,296 project. Armstrong Road was selected for seal coat because of the increased traffic and resident complains. The emulsion and lightweight grade 3 aggregate has given them a dust and mud free road. It’s also safer because of the skid resistant surface. This county road is just a small part of the roughly 20 mile/$300,000 seal coat program located in precinct 3 in Ellis Co. They will use a combination of TXDOT graded 3, 4, and 5 aggregates. The aggregate selection is due to the current road’s traffic, speeds and surface condition.
With fewer new roads under construction and Texas’ expected population growth, maintaining the existing road system had been a top priority. An annual seal coat program has put Texas ahead of the curve and gives them the most cost effective way to maintain their road system.