Road crews prepared for pavement ‘bleeding’

For Immediate Release: Monday, July 31, 2017

Sponsored by: Department of Land Use and Transportation, Operations and Maintenance Division
Pavement bleeding

Travelers exercise caution: Slippery road conditions are possible in hot weather as well as cold.

This week's anticipated heat wave could result in pavement bleeding. "Bleeding" is the term used for the shiny, oily-looking film of asphalt binder that appears on a road during prolonged periods of high temperatures. Bleeding can cause roads to become somewhat slippery, which road crews control by applying sand.

"Pavement bleeding can occur on chip seal road surfaces, and it starts to be a concern when we have a number of days with temperatures of 95 degrees and above," said Keith Lewis, Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation operations superintendent. "If we have three to four days of extreme heat, we start to watch for it."

The likelihood of bleeding depends on several factors including how much exposure a road has to direct sunlight, how much radiant heat the asphalt holds after the sun goes down and the percentage of oil in the road surface. Heavy truck traffic, which draws more oil to the surface, can also be a factor. 

When temperatures are high and roads appear oily or sound "tacky" when tires travel over the surface, travelers should use caution. To report hazardous road conditions during normal business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday) call 503-846-ROAD (846-7623), e-mail or submit an online service request. Outside of normal business hours, call Washington County non-emergency at 503-629-0111.

Washington County is committed to planning, building and maintaining a great transportation system, ensuring the safety of all roadway users, and operating the County roadway system in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner.

Media Contact:

Melissa De Lyser, Communications Coordinator