Crack Sealing

Crack sealing is a routine and essential preventative maintenance practice used by Lincoln Transportation and Utilities (LTU) to help extend the life of the street surface. Crack sealing involves the use of hot pour rubber to shield street surfaces from moisture and debris, ultimately extending the lifespan of the street network.

YouTube video Watch: Crack Sealing in Action  (:09)

The Crack Sealing Process


Use air compressor and heat lance to remove debris and moisture from the crack.


Fill cracks with hot pour rubber sealant.


Push material into the crack with a squeegee to create a protective band.


Cover with biodegradable toilet paper to protect traffic and preserve material.

Crack Sealing...

  • Contributes to the pavement maintenance program
  • Extends the life of the road network
  • Reduces the severity of surface deterioration and potholes

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does crack sealing contribute to the overall longevity of streets?

By sealing the streets before the cracks get worse, it helps maintain the strength of the street by removing the weak lines that would allow moisture and debris to penetrate the surface and cause erosion and deterioration.

How does crack sealing help prevent potholes?

The main culprit of potholes is the combination of moisture and freeze/thaw cycles which is common in midwestern states. Water seeps into the cracks and then expands as it freezes, causing the asphalt or concrete around the crack to weaken and break. This creates larger and larger cracks, and eventually leads to potholes. By sealing the cracks and joints, we prevent the moisture from getting into the cracks before they become a larger and more persistent issue.

Related: More information on Potholes

What is the process of crack sealing?

When crack sealing, a crew works in a mobile operation that uses the following process as they move along the street:

  1. The crew uses an air compressor and heat lance to remove any debris and moisture from the joints and cracks.
  2. The cracks are filled with hot pour rubber sealer.
  3. The crew runs a squeegee over the newly-poured rubber. This does three things: 1) it pushes material into the crack to get the best bond; 2) it creates a wide band over the crack to prevent moisture from penetrating into the crack; 3) it removes excess material to help it set up faster and keep it from catching on plows or anything that might pull the sealant out of the crack.
  4. The sealed crack is covered with biodegradable toilet paper to prevent tracking by vehicles and pedestrians, and to preserve the material in the crack until it fully hardens.
  5. A truck with an arrow board follows the crew to alert the public and protect the crew working on the street.

How does crack sealing contribute to improving road safety for drivers and pedestrians?

Crack sealing helps preserve the road condition by preventing water penetration, which is the main cause of cracks and potholes. Once the street deterioration starts, it is a lot harder to complete reactive repairs and pothole patching to a level where we eliminate the issue.

What types of cracks are most effectively addressed through crack sealing?

Crack sealing is equally beneficial for both asphalt and concrete streets. The biggest factor is the width of the cracks. If they are more than 1-inch wide, crack sealing becomes less effective and may require a different type of repair.

What time of year does LTU do crack sealing?

Crack sealing occurs year-round, weather permitting. The biggest factor that prevents crack sealing is moisture on the streets and in the cracks.

How is crack sealing funded?

Crack sealing is funded by the Street Improvement Vehicle Tax (wheel tax). For a typical four-door vehicle, a driver pays $74 per year in wheel tax. Of that $74, $17.33 is dedicated to Lincoln Transportation and Utilities Operations and Maintenance division. These funds provide essential services like crack sealing, pothole filling, and snow removal. To learn more about where your wheel tax funds go, go to

Does crack sealing hurt my vehicle?

Dried crack sealing is safe to drive over. Crack sealing protected by biodegradable toilet paper is safe to drive over. Do not drive over fresh crack sealing that has not been covered with toilet paper or dried while crews are working. This can smear the crack sealing out of the crack in the street.