. . . INDOT investigators found that the Brooks Construction asphalt plant was mixing blacktop that did not always meet agency specifications. The plant was one of two Brooks-owned plants the agency placed on probation in April 2011. Asphalt from those two plants had been used in at least two other INDOT road projects, from 2008 to 2010, parts of which had to be repaved, said INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield . . .
Ronald P. Walker, INDOT's manager of materials management, said in a letter to Brooks Construction dated March 1, 2011, that investigators found “an inability for either plant to produce consistent mixture” of asphalt, which includes stones and the binder.
The asphalt plant was put on probation for a year, and the operators had to submit asphalt samples from the plants to INDOT each month.
The disclosure, provided by INDOT to The Indianapolis Star, comes as a deadline looms Friday for Brooks to answer INDOT’s refund demand. The $5.15 million INDOT is seeking was the cost of the asphalt.
At the time the plants were placed on probation, Brooks Construction was in the middle of the $16 million Ind. 25 rebuilding, also known as the Hoosier Heartland project, using asphalt from the Logansport plant, Wingfield said. Although the plant was under increased scrutiny, he said, its violations were not serious enough to demand that it cease operations . . .In spite of that bit of information, the contractor's response is even more eye-popping. John Brooks of Brooks Construction told the Star INDOT conducted 72 tests on its asphalt at the time and paid the company in full, even giving it a bonus of $18,000 "for an asphalt mix that exceeded expectation." Sigh. I wonder if these issues are in any way tied to the revolving door of INDOT engineers going to work for the agency's consultant's and contractors--the problem Karl Browning got sacked as the agency's head a few months ago for trying to do something about.