The recent work by the city of Kennewick to chip seal a number of roads has made me appreciate the Benton County Public Works Department, which maintains the Benton County roads.
Chip sealing is an unfortunate, but practical, method to prolong road life when funds for re-paving are not available. However, not all chip seal is the same.
Benton County does outstanding work when it chip seals its roads. Workers use a fine-grained road gravel that, after several weeks, works into the tar so it no longer has that rough feel of driving along a cheese grater. The surface ends up much smoother, which improves fuel efficiency and is an overall more pleasant travel experience for motorists and bicyclists.
Chip sealing with finer gravel may cost more, but it is a wise investment. The city of Kennewick, as well as Franklin and Walla Walla Counties, could learn a valuable lesson from their counterparts in Benton County.
STEVE MCDUFFIE, Richland