Kitsap County road maintenance behind schedule due to COVID-19

Kitsap County crews were set to resume herbicide application along roadsides Wednesday, but April showers prompted public works crews to put off spraying this week.

According to Jacques Dean, road superintendent for Kitsap County’s Department of Public Works, the delays were just one of the county’s many roadway maintenance tasks that have been put off in recent months, and could result in increased costs over time.

Usually, Dean said, crews are applying herbicides by April 1, but with concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19 in Kitsap County, public works crews are now “behind the eight-ball” after having delayed spraying and other road maintenance activities like mowing and applying fog seal, crack seal and chip seal to the county’s roadways. Dean also noted that when these sorts of projects get delayed, it often results in increased costs further down the line, likening the maintenance work to owning a car: it is much cheaper to pay for maintenance costs early on, than to repair broken and worn-out parts later.

Dean said that Kitsap County Public Works is tentatively planning to start spraying on Monday, but that could change depending on the weather, since the herbicides they are using cannot be applied in the rain.

“Maintaining sight distances and ensuring signs aren’t obstructed are essential on our road system,” Dean said in an April 15 statement. “We use mowers and other methods to help control vegetation, and the selective application of herbicides makes the other processes more efficient.”

Kitsap County is committed to using the lowest effective application rate of herbicide product possible to manage roadside vegetation,” said Dean. Trained and certified application crews spray adjacent to existing pavement, around guardrails and around signposts. Most application is on heavily used arterial and collector road shoulders.

Crews do not spray in school zones, along park frontages, along identified bus stops, in dense residential areas, road side ditches, or within 50 feet on either side of a critical environmental area.

According to Dean, the herbicides being used by the county for application include:

  • Cheetah Pro (Glufosinate Ammonium);
  • Esplanade (Indaziflam);
  • Frequency (Topramezone);
  • Telar (Chlorsulfron) and;
  • Liberate (Lecithin)

Location maps and spray schedules can be found at kcowa.us/RoadMaint.

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