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A brief, cost-effective project to extend the pavement life of two state routes in Defiance County is planned Monday by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

A sign on Ohio 281 near Defiance’s General Motors plant informs motorists of the chip/seal work that is planned Monday by ODOT’s Defiance County garage. (The ODOT garage is located on Baltimore Road and is responsible for maintenance of state and federal routes in Defiance County.)

The project will take place on Ohio 281, from the intersection of East Second Street/Ohio 281 on Defiance’s eastern edge east to the Henry County line, and on Ohio 18, from the Ohio 281 intersection east to the Henry County line.

Chip/seal work is simple, quick, effective and much less expensive than paving projects, and will extend pavement life by 5-7 years in many cases, and up to 10 years in some instances, according to ODOT District 1 spokesman Rhonda Pees.

The process involves the placement of liquid asphalt over a road’s existing surface, followed by coverage with small crushed stone that is rolled into the sticky material. A broom then sweeps the loose stone off the surface.

Work on the local project should be completed by Tuesday, weather permitting, according to Pees. Traffic will be maintained.

She indicated that ODOT crews have been handling chip/seal projects for several decades. Large paving projects on state and federal highways, however, are bid out, take longer and are much more expensive.

“This (chip/seal) is a pavement maintenance that we believe in because it extends pavement life and it’s so economical,” she said. “... we know they (projects) work well. ... It seals the pavement against moisture, which is the enemy of all pavements. Keeping the moisture out is what we’re trying to do, and chip/seal does that economically more than any method we’ve found.”

In the Defiance County project, ODOT’s local garage also will be partnering with Williams County’s ODOT garage for equipment usage, according to Pees.

Following the project’s completion, ODOT is planning a media event Tuesday afternoon on Ohio 281 near the GM plant to promote work zone safety. Chip/seal projects provide an opportunity for promoting such safety because they tend to have drawn out work zones.

“We ask people to slow down,” she said. “One thing about chip/seal zones is they’re long and have several pieces of equipment in them. Sometimes people will get impatient and kind of pick up speed as they go. ... there may be spacing between equipment, so you just need to stay out of the zone and slowly pass by until beyond it.”

Three other chip/seal projects also are planned this summer in Putnam County and one in Paulding County, which are included in ODOT’s District 1, based in Lima, along with Defiance County. Three other local counties (Fulton, Henry and Wiliams) are part of District 2, based in Bowling Green.

In addition to ODOT’s various county garages throughout Ohio, county governments have been undertaking chip/seal projects for many years on county and township roads as well. However, these are usually done by contract.

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