and inconvenient process. And yet, local government endorses a policy of chip sealing roads in the belief that it is more economically efficient than actually paving the roads. However, studies such as “Economics of Upgrading an Aggregate Road” conducted by the Iowa State University department of civil engineering conclude otherwise.

Whereas the initial cost of the aggregate road may be less, maintenance costs are actually higher on a yearly basis over the life of the roadway. Further, there are several negative issues with aggregate roads that economically impact the taxpayer, but are evidently not considered or ignored by local government:

  • More frequent disruption to the community due to maintenance/resurfacing
  • Damage to vehicles due to tar and stones
  • More frequent cleaning
  • Damage to paint and decrease in vehicle value
  • Cost of windshield replacement and concomitant higher insurance premiums
  • Poorer atmosphere due to substantially more dust
  • Less safe surface for driving
  • Reduced vehicle and driver efficiency
  • Lower gas mileage due to more rolling resistance and subsequent increased air pollution
  • Higher maintenance cost for air, fuel and oil filters
  • Higher wear on tires

In addition, a paved roadway is more pleasant to observe and to drive upon and also increases property values. It just makes for a nicer community. The chip sealing process is just a pain in the neck and totally misguided, in my opinion.

Governments should be less myopic in their analysis and consider all the factors facing the taxpayer in this and all decision making instead of a “quick and dirty” analysis.

Let’s spend money on paved roads rather than higher insurance premiums, accelerated vehicle depreciation and more costly maintenance.

Jerry Graham, Sun Valley

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