Alaska residents angered by chip seal on Mitkof Island roads

    PETERSBURG, Alaska (AP) — Alaska residents driving on Mitkof Island are concerned that the chip seal the state is using to fix the island's roads is doing more harm than good.

    Residents have experienced cracked windshields and chipped paint since the seal was put down, KFSK-FM reported Tuesday.

    Chip sealing delays the need to fully rebuild roads because it fills in "micro cracks" before they're big enough to cause a problem, Alaska Department of Transportation spokeswoman Aurah Landau said.

    There is loose gravel for a couple of weeks after the seal is put down, but Landau said the department puts signs up warning people to slow down.

    The road feels "more bumpy" for a while, she said, but eventually it will have a much smoother surface.

    "And one thing that chip seal can do is provide really good skid resistance particularly on wet pavements," she said. "But it just takes a ... couple weeks for the process to be finished."

    Sealing the island's roads is estimated to cost more than half a million dollars, 90 percent of which is being paid for by the Federal Highway Administration. The process costs about $62,000 per mile, including the cost of mobilizing equipment to Petersburg. The resurfacing is happening from the ferry terminal to Papke's Landing, along with several more miles on the portions of Haugen Drive and the Scow Bay Loop.

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