Finish Chip Seal and Snivi Patching

Chip Seal is a process of laying down a sticky oil and following up with small angular rock. The process provides an excellent, cost-effective wearing surface for County roads. Chip seal has a life span of about 7 years, after which it quickly deteriorates. As a result, roads are generally chip sealed when they still appear in good condition. However, if we let them go for a few more years, cracks, pot holes and other issues would quickly develop. Snivi is chip seal for a small length of roadway.

Cowlitz County assists cities and public facilities by chip sealing their roads and interior roads/parking areas. This is done using interlocal agreements and generally is a cost effective option for smaller entities.

Paving & Crack Sealing

Although most asphalt paving is completed by contractors, Cowlitz County does pave parking areas and small patches using our paving machine. Asphalt paving is a good option when a surface repair is needed, but it must be adequately and appropriately compacted, with correct air temperatures, in order to set up properly. Crack sealing is similar to paving but uses an oil that binds into the crack and allows for a shorter term solution to cracking roadways.

Begin Brushing for Next Summer's Chip Seal

Prior to a chip seal operation the vegetation next to the roadway must be pruned.

Special Projects

Various projects are identified each year. County forces are asked to complete these projects for various reasons but the net benefit is our crews are regularly cross-trained in a variety of construction projects, increasing their responsiveness to emergency situations.

Culvert, Ditch and Catch Basin Cleaning

Winter rains are almost here! Crews check culverts, ditches and catch basins and clean them as needed to make sure the rain water is able to move through the drainage systems without backups or overflows.


Mowing occurs throughout the year to keep vegetation down so drivers can see pedestrians, wildlife or oncoming traffic.

Reflective Button Replacement

Reflective buttons are used in many locations and are often damaged during plowing operations and summer maintenance activities. In the fall they are replaced to help nighttime drivers see the centerline and prevent accidents.


Fall can bring some slippery conditions with frost and icing. Crews get up early to de-ice roadways for the morning commute.

Leaf Cleanup

Leaves, on roadways, in ditches, covering lane markings, need to be cleaned up as they fall and after they fall. County crews sweep the leaves and remove them in order to preserve the roadway's traction and keep the drainages clear for the fall rains.