Douglas County crews are working on one of their biggest road construction projects of the summer season. 

They're in the process of chip sealing the length of McNeil Canyon Road, which climbs from the Columbia River near the Beebe Bridge into the Waterville Plateau. 

Douglas County Road Supervisor Scott Reiman says the project has its challenges. 

"It's a fairly steep grade and a lot of traffic, especially with the detour of U.S. Hwy. 2 right now, the closure in the Moses Coulee area." said Reiman. 

The U.S. 2 closure will bring heavier traffic onto McNeil Canyon Road for the duration of the chip sealing project, which is scheduled to end next Monday. 

U.S. 2 isn't projected to reopen for another three weeks. It's going through lengthy repair work after large chunks of the roadway were taken out by a mudslide.

Reiman says the chip sealing process repeats itself every so often. 

"It's our normal pavement preservation that we go through," Reiman said. "We try to chip seal about every six to eight years on the main arterials." 

Chip sealing is a form of road preservation which involves laying gravel over liquid asphalt. It's quicker and far less expensive than repaving roads. 

When chip sealing is applied to a roadway, loose gravel remains on the surface for a few days and up to a couple of weeks following application.  

The McNeil Canyon Road project covers 11.5 miles between U.S. Hwy. 97 and SR 172. 

The next major chip sealing project in Douglas County will start on Aug.14 and will cover the two-mile stretch of Northwest Cascades Ave. Between 19th Street and 35th Street in the East Wenatchee area.