UPDATED: Investigation continues into tar-like substance on Mission Ridge Road

Posted By: Public Works on January 22, 2018

UPDATED: Investigation continues into tar-like substance on Mission Ridge Road image

UPDATED JAN. 30, 2018: Efforts by Chelan County Public Works to help minimize the impact of a tar-like residue on Mission Ridge Road continue this week.

Since Monday, crews have broomed the roadway twice and applied sand. They have also been pushing back the snow berms along the roadway because water on the road appears to aid in the transport of the particles onto vehicles. Crews will continue to monitor Mission Ridge Road as well as Forest Ridge Road, where residents are reporting similar issues, to determine if more brooming and sanding are needed when weather permits.

Two weeks ago, Public Works began getting reports from motorists who had traveled on Mission Ridge Road that a sticky, tar-like substance was on their vehicles. Efforts put into place this past week seem to be helping to reduce the particulate, said Eric Pierson, Chelan County Public Works Director/County Engineer.

Public Works is working with a materials field expert who specializes in asphalt products to help determine the potential cause of the problem and if there are any ways to mitigate the problem beyond what Public Works is currently performing.

“Unfortunately, investigations such as these take time and potential solutions are limited this time of year,” Pierson said. “In the meantime, we will continue to work to minimize the impacts on motorists.”

Public Works reminds drivers who have found the tar-like substance on their vehicles to use cold water when removing it. People should not use hot water, or any hot application, to try to remove the substance. People also should use a de-greaser/tar remover, which can be found in local automotive stores, in their cleaning efforts.

Watch the Public Works Facebook page for updates or sign up for email ListServe updates via the county website.

 

UPDATED JAN. 23, 2018: Chelan County Public Works crews on Jan. 23 broomed a portion of the roadway at Mission Ridge Road to remove a tar-like particulate that has been coming off the roadway and onto passing vehicles.

Crews will continue to broom the roadway when weather permits, as well as add sand over the impacted area, in an effort to minimize the amount of particulate on the roadway.

Meanwhile, Public Works continues to investigate what is causing this particulate matter; no clear cause of the problem has been identified at this time. County crews last week began investigating reports that drivers were finding a fine, granulated asphalt material on their vehicles after traveling on Mission Ridge Road.

The county does not believe anti-icing agents applied to the roadway caused the problem, said Eric Pierson, Chelan County Public Works Director/County Engineer. Chemical anti-icing agents are used throughout the county and state, and this contamination of vehicles has not occurred in the past in Chelan County or elsewhere that we are aware of, he said.

“We recognize the impact this situation has had on our community,” Pierson said. “Many of our employees and their families, including my own, use that road on their way to Mission Ridge Ski Resort. Our crews will be working to minimize the amount of particulate on the roadway.”

Public works reminds drivers who have found the tar-like substance on their vehicles to use cold water when removing it. People should not use hot water, or any hot application, to try to remove the substance. People also should use a de-greaser/tar remover, which can be found in local automotive stores, in their cleaning efforts.

 

POSTED JAN. 22, 2018: Chelan County Public Works has been investigating complaints from drivers who have found a tar-like substance on their vehicles after traveling on Mission Ridge Road.  Public Works staff have also seen this on their personal vehicles as well.

Last week, county crews began investigating the reports and found a fine, granulated asphalt material on the roadway on Mission Ridge Road (above Wenatchee Heights Road), which was chip-sealed this past summer. However, crews have not yet found a clear cause of the problem.  This material appears to get deposited onto vehicles much like any sand or winter road grime when the roadway is wet.

In their investigations, crews determined the substance can be cleaned from vehicles with cold water. The county warns that people should not use hot water, or any hot application, to try to remove the substance. It is also recommended that if utilizing an automatic car wash people verify that no heat is involved.

Staff experience with cleaning their personal vehicles have shown the below process to be effective:

Pre-soak your car with cold water, making sure to heavily soak the area covered in the substance.

Using a manual car wash or washing your vehicle by hand, remove the substance by wiping or scrubbing it off with a soft brush. Again, use plenty of cold water during the cleaning process.  This may take multiple applications.

If this does not work, use a Natural Orange Cleaner degreaser that does not damage paint. Spray the degreaser on the substance, allowing it to sit on the material for a few minutes. Then wipe off or use a soft brush.

Public works will continue this week to investigate the potential cause behind the problem and to find a solution. However, a feasible solution may not be possible until the weather warms up.

For more information, contact public works at public.works@co.chelan.wa.us.