Extent, Severity, and Location of Chip Seal Loss on the South Dakota State Road Network

The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) typically applies chip seal surface treatments to non-Interstate asphalt pavements within two years of paving and successively when needed. Both experience and the literature have shown that chip seals provide a new wearing course, help extend pavement life by as much as five years or more, increase skid resistance, and increase performance. Low-cost chip sealing is an essential treatment to preserve the state road network. Research Project 1999-09: "Interstate Asphalt Pavement Maintenance" recommended standardized practices to improve the design and construction of chip seals by the SDDOT. However, in recent years, some chip seals have not performed adequately after one season of service. SDDOT does not record surface treatment loss as a distress in its pavement management database, therefore the location, extent, and severity of chip seal loss on the state road network is unknown. It was originally assumed that snowplows were removing the chip seals during winter maintenance activities. Chips seals appeared to be scraped off to varying degrees, ranging from very little along centerline to all material being removed from the roadway. However, chip seal loss could be caused from multiple mechanisms or possibilities. These could range from construction methods, date of placement, environmental conditions during and after placement, materials, winter maintenance activities, or design of the chip seal. To date only anecdotal evidence exists to support any conclusion. If the chip seals are damaged every year, pavements do not benefit from added years of life as well as the lost resources from material loss. Determining the location, extent, and severity of chip seal loss on the state road network will allow SDDOT to determine if additional measures need to be implemented to mitigate this problem and to save resources by continuing to preserve and maintain the existing state road network. Three main objectives will be addressed in this study: (1) Determine the extent, severity, and location of chip seal loss on the South Dakota state road network. The work will be initiated with a thorough search of the available literature on chip seal performance since the SD1999-09 research project was completed in 2001. Although the literature review will rely on the work conducted as part of SD1999-09, recent advances in assessing chip seal performance will be included. Information on chip seal location and age will also be collected from the SDDOT pavement management database; however chip seal performance (distress) will be obtained specifically for the purposes of this study. Integral to this research goal is collecting detailed information on chip seals applied to the state road system in the last five years. This information will be provided by SDDOT Area Engineers and Maintenance Supervisors as appropriate. Details are contained within the research proposal. (2) Determine to what extent the recommendations in research project SD1999-09 have been implemented. Details on design specifications, construction, environmental conditions during construction, chip seal design parameters, fog seal application, winter maintenance activities, and performance will be collected as part of the research. This will allow for the research team to determine the extent to which the recommendations of SD1999-09 have been implemented. (3) Identify potential relationships of chip seal loss to design specifications, construction, recommendations from SD1999-09, and winter maintenance practices. Once detailed data on chip seals and weather data have been compiled for the research project, the data will be analyzed and summarized in an attempt to identify possible causes of chip seal distress. The data will also be compared to the recommendations of SD1999-09 as part of this work. The primary objective is to identify trends or causes that are likely contributing to chip seal distress as well as success.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $16773.00
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108
  • Project Managers:

    Tolliver, Denver

  • Performing Organizations:

    Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    South Dakota State University
    Brookings, SD  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Jones, Allen

  • Start Date: 20120101
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190930
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
  • Source Data: MPC-396

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01483273
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mountain-Plains Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC08
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Jun 6 2013 1:02AM