Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Is Anyone Asking About The Quality Of The Asphalt Work On City Streets?

Downtown commuters were treated to a flurry of paving jobs on downtown streets during the last several months of 2010. If you examine the asphalt work done closely, you will discover most of the asphalt work was poorly performed. The seams are very noticeable and rough, the paving work is uneven, water stands in some areas and the asphalt appeared to be of a substandard grade. The newly-paved streets are already crumbling in many places, particularly around manholes. Potholes began appearing  after the first thaw on several of the newly-paved streets because of areas where water seeped into the pavement and froze. I have to wonder if city engineers are doing their jobs and demanding the contractors repair these badly-performed street projects at no additional expense to taxpayers. If these newly-paved streets look this bad after a few months, what will they look like a year or two from now?


Paul K. Ogden said...

Gary those paved roads have to match the 30 years that we're borrowing money to pay for them.

Yep, what the Ballard administration did is akin to taking aout a 30 year loan to buy a car.

Jon said...

Nothing new here, the road contractors are just building roads with planned obsolescence. That way every couple of years they have another multi million contract to improve roads.

The original freeways built by the Eisenhower administration lasted decades before they needed repair, now the asphalt doesn't last a year.

How much more expensive is concrete compared to asphalt when you repair the asphalt every few years?

Downtown Indy said...

The city engineers need to be far more demanding of how utility cuts get patched, too.

Citizen Kane said...

I have had a conversation with various officials from the 25th floor about this issue.

I indicated that the deficiencies that I noted were clear evidence of an inadequate pavement job and / or poor inspection (or both). I indicated that spending millions of dollars (speaking of course about the water deal theft) on repaving streets becomes even more suspect when sections of the street pavement of other resurfacing projects have seriously deteriorated less than 1.5 years later.

It was indicated to me that they don't fix the street base during any resurfacing but that they do have a bond (what purpose that would serve was not clear since the bond would only cover the overlay (fair assumption I believe)) to take care of any problems. I didn't follow up to determine whether we or the contractor paid for the fix.

The pavement deficiencies that I noted did get fixed about four months later (they dug approximately 3-4 feet down within a 10 by 10-foot area in two separate places). But if I had not said anything, nothing would have been done.

I have noticed the same problem on many street resurfacing projects, even the better ones - and the downtown one is one of the worse. The timing of it made no sense and the quality of it leaves a lot to be desired. The base pavement that is exposed on certain streets is atrocious - a total waste of asphalt, effort and money. To put a surface over such a poor base would be criminal.

Pay attention to the locations of potholes on any street prior to an overlay. Then after the overlay watch where the potholes occur - in the exact same places in a few years because the problem was not addressed - the problems were literally paved over!

Gary R. Welsh said...

I believe I heard someone complaining that I-69 is being built using a substandard construction method in order to get more miles of it built before Daniels leaves office for a cheaper price. I recall many years ago when I worked for the legislature in Illinois an effort by a legislator to get Illinois DOT to require a certain asphalt material being used in a few western states that lasted many more years than what the state was using at the time. The asphalt industry's lobbyist, Bill Cellini, who is currently under indictment as part of the Blago corruption mess, killed efforts to change the Illinois standard to use the longer lasting material. Also, the asphalt industry teamed up with the trucking industry to increase allowed weight limits for trucks that had a devastating impact on the interstate highways and bridges.

neil said...

Obviously there was more than one crew doing road work this summer. That said I had the opportunity to watch one of them repave the street leading from my parking spot to my office downtown. I did notice that the crews were all driving what seemed to be personal vehicles (light duty pickup trucks with personal bumper stickers, etc) all with a magnetic sign on each door. Most had out of state plates. The out of state plates was a bit upsetting - you'd think we could find someone in state to do road work.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The road contractors and engineers involved will show up as the biggest contributors on Ballard's campaign finance reports. I know there were a lot of complaints that the work done on the cultural trail was being performed by an Ohio contractor, but supposedly the way the specs were drawn up, no local contractor qualified to do the work.

IndyDem said...

they did the same thing over on the near eastside in the redevelopment efforts. Things planned long ago now are using the worst possible contractors. We complained that the work wasnt being done right when it was going on. Now, that company is bankrupt and gone and we have standing water for 1/4 mile down the street, handicap ramps dont meet the pavement, retention walls that were removed were never replaced and less than 6 months later there are weed growing between the curb and pavement. The job was finished the summer after last and the corrections were supposed to be fixed the next November. then it was last spring then November again and now its back to spring 2011. Cutting corners and quick fix solutions is becoming synonymous with city leadership these days..
I'll try and get some photos of the pavement today.. before it snows

Marycatherine Barton said...

It is so distressing to read about these instances of poor quality of work on city streets and costs. This summer, the City did a very excellent job repaving Bosart Ave., from 10th to 16th St., like never before.