The Clay County Highway Department maintains over 750 lane miles of roadway in unincorporated Clay County.
|Commonly called blacktop, asphalt is a mixture of tar, small stones, and sand that is heated and spread evenly on the road. As it cools, it forms a hard surface. Asphalt is durable but quite expensive to install and maintain. Roughly one-third of rural Clay County roads are asphalt.
|Chip Seal roads have a layer of small rocks applied over a layer of sealer oil. The rocks stick to the oil and a durable surface that requires infrequent maintenance is the result. Approximately one-half of rural Clay County roads are chip seal.
|Gravel roads are unpaved roads that are bladed and smoothed as needed throughout the year.
Microsurfacing is used as a preservation and protection of underlying pavement structure and is applied to roads in a condition worth preserving. Around 10% of Clay County roads have been microsurfaced.
Each type of road surface requires a different maintenance schedule and process.
The cost of oil and rock, manpower available, and weather conditions directly affect how much resurfacing can be done each year. The decision to resurface a road is based on the amount of traffic on the road, the length of time since the road was last resurfaced, and the condition of the road.
Applying asphalt to a road requires specialized equipment to heat the material and keep it hot until it is applied to the road. As soon as asphalt starts to cool, it becomes hard and creates a smooth, durable road surface. For this reason, Clay County generally hires a contractor (through competitive bidding) to complete resurfacing work. Because the cost to install and maintain asphalt is two to three times higher than the cost to install and maintain chip seal, it is difficult to justify the expense on all but a few County roads.
Feel free to submit a resurfacing request on the Report a Concern page. While submitting a resurfacing request is not a guarantee of resurfacing, it will bring the road in question to the attention of the highway administrator and field supervisors for further consideration. Each spring, the roads in Clay County’s jurisdiction are evaluated to determine which roads will be resurfaced that year.
Winter Road Maintenance
Maintaining safe roadways in the Midwest during the winter inevitably involves snow and ice removal. Highway personnel is assigned to specific routes in rural Clay County for efficiency in this effort.