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Since You Asked

Seems like the sanding of roads this winter has turned into rocking the roads. Whatever happened to the quarter-inch minus material? The larger size rock is causing damage to cars' front ends.

Can the roads department get their act cleaned up? Enough of the three-quarters inch rock already.

— Gordon D., White City

Rock chips are a seasonal bummer, but go easy on those guys who are just trying to keep us all on the road when the weather turns the streets into skating rinks, Gordon.

John Vial, director of the Jackson County Roads Department, checked the records and reassured drivers that the county is using the same specifications for its sanding mixes as it has since 1996. He also noted that the county and the state Department of Transportation get their sanding materials from the same sources under a joint contract, so the little rocks pinging your paint job and windshield should be the same wherever you travel around here.

In the mountains, where snow and ice are the heaviest, crews use soft, red cinders that can be up to five-eighths of an inch in size, Vial said. Passing vehicles crush the relatively soft cinders into smaller pieces, sustaining and adding to the traction provided through a snow-packed winter.

A mix of harder grey or black aggregate up to a quarter of an inch in size is used in the valley, where it is pushed or swept aside sooner.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.