Photo by Don Nelson

Photo by Don Nelson

Large boulders being placed along West Chewuch Road are part of an Okanogan County project to protect the pavement and fragile road shoulders.

Crews from the county Public Works Department are using rock scrounged from ditches and other construction projects to keep the edges of pavement from sloughing off, particularly on narrow roads, according to Kenny Stanley, roadway engineer for the county. The larger rocks are buried in steep slopes at the road’s edge and are topped with smaller rocks to shield the shoulder.

The county is doing this work now both to get ahead of schedule and because they have had to cut back on chip-sealing since oil and other materials have become so expensive, said Stanley. They typically chip-seal about 100 of the 700 miles of paved roads in the county, but this year they only have funds to do 32 miles, none in the Methow.

Crews are concentrating on West Chewuch Road for the shoulder work because it is narrow and gets significant traffic. Stanley said it was unlikely they would have time to treat other roads because scheduled maintenance for culverts and other fall projects will start soon.