Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, July 22, 2018 ACHD's Road Wizard

"Otta Seal" mistaken for a chip seal on the north-most section of Eagle Road; loud, repetitive beeping sound near Highlands Elementary School on Curling Drive; reader asks for clarification on the response to a request for an upgraded pedestrian signal on Warm Springs Avenue

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: We are big fans of chip sealing. Anybody that complains, hasn't been to other states where they have large and frequent potholes and no regularly scheduled maintenance. Thank you for such a wonderful service. Our section of the county received chip sealing. It seemed a little different and this spring, as I bicycle, I wonder if there is a new plan in place. The gravel didn't seem to be applied as thick, therefore making for a bumpier ride. Or perhaps it is the size of the chips. Coming down the hills of Eagle Road, the northern-most paved miles, the road becomes quite scary because of odd striping and missed patches. For this year, please encourage the staff to return to their previous standards and not use any shortcuts in materials or workmanship


Road Wizard:

Sounds like you encountered an "otta seal".  Before you decide to stay outta there, please allow me to explain what this road treatment is all about.

An otta seal was used on this section of Eagle as an experiment. Unlike a chip seal, it can be applied directly over dirt roads. But the otta seal is less refined than a chip seal. The aggregate is larger than chip seal rocks at about a half-inch wide, and the rocks aren't as clean and uniform in size. This can make it difficult for the material to stay in place on top of the liquid asphalt used during the application process.

Putting the treatments side-by-side can seem like ACHD's chip seal crews may have a quality control issue. Especially if you look at residential roads that get the relatively tiny one-fourth-inch chip seal rocks. But the otta seal is a good option for rural roads.

Dear Road Wizard: Not sure if you are responsible for school crossings but the one in front of Highlands Elementary School on Curling Drive has been "beeping" continuously for over a week.


Road Wizard:

Yes, like the sound of a tiny truck beeping its back-up alert ad nauseam. But the beeping is intentional. It guides people with visual impairments to the button and orients them to the street crossing.

Sometimes the sound can travel and bounce and become annoying. And like many electrical devices, they can also malfunction and default to their original, sometimes very loud, settings. ACHD turned down the volume at the Curling location.

Dear Road Wizard: Is it me or was something left out of your answer to "Steve" in the paper July 1? You say ACHD is "adding enhanced crosswalk signals/beacons at locations that don't have any of those elements". What elements? I don't get it.


Road Wizard:

The original question was about replacing the pedestrian signal on Warm Springs Avenue at Adams Elementary with a "HAWK" device. Right now the signal is a red/yellow/green layout that keeps drivers stopped when a pedestrian pushes the walk button until a green light appears. A HAWK operates similarly to this standard-style pedestrian signal but allows drivers to proceed on flashing red lights after first stopping for pedestrians.

I was trying to say that while a HAWK signal would be great, there are just too many other crosswalk locations that have only street paint and signs. ACHD is concentrating on upgrading those locations with crossing signals before changing signal styles at places like Adams Elementary School.

Return to Road Wizard

Have a Question for the Wizard?

E-mail it to:

Or mail it to:
Road Wizard
3775 Adams St.
Garden City, ID 83714

You may include photos of a particular situation, but photos cannot be returned.

Road Wizard Archives

Additional years are also available by request.


We Drive Quality Transportation For All Ada County ~

Ada County Highway District © 2017
For Questions or problems with this Web site contact the Webmaster