Dust control contributes to safety on gravel roads

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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

Dust abatement product applicationDust control treatment will be applied on some rural gravel roads over the next few weeks by the Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation Operations and Maintenance Division.

Dust control treatment increases surface stability and thus motorist safety on curves and hills where traffic causes rough road surfaces. It also helps to reduce traffic-generated dust on rural gravel roads. 

Due to limited resources, the County treats only the worst areas where washboarded surfaces present traffic safety issues. Washboarding, or corrugation, occurs when wheels roll over unpaved roads at speeds sufficient to cause bouncing of the wheel, resulting in the formation of ripples on the road surface. 

Although dust control treatment has been referred to as "dust oil," it is not a petroleum product. It is an environmentally safe by-product from pulp mills that reduces air-borne dust which can contaminate air and water. 

Rural residents can choose to pay for dust control on their County-maintained gravel roads. They must first get a no-cost dust control permit from the County. The permit allows County road grading to be coordinated with the private contractor's application of the dust control material. The permit also ensures that only environmentally safe products are used and applied appropriately. 

Motorists can help reduce traffic-generated dust by driving more slowly on gravel roads. Excessive speed increases dust which can damage nearby crops. Driving too fast on gravel also causes washboarding and damages the road surface, increasing the taxpayers' maintenance costs.

For more information, contact the Operations and Maintenance Division at 503-846-ROAD (846-7623) or lutops@co.washington.or.us.

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