With $ 4.4 million in budgeted projects covering nearly 50 miles of road this summer – and likely next spring – public works director Fred Hurley offered an introduction to the different types of work residents do. Newtown Bee readers will then see local public works crews and contractors digging across the community.
Seal the chips. Chip Sealer is a quarter-inch application of stone and asphalt cement designed to extend the life of a road, not a replacement for complete repaving. According to Hurley, 25 years ago when a road was paved it could be expected to last about 18 years; now a city can only really hope for eight or nine years.
Chip sealing adds three to five years to the life of a road, at just 10% of the cost of a full paving. Hurley said it would cost around $ 80 million to repave the 280-mile road in Newtown, but only $ 8 million to seal the chips.
“It’s about balancing the two to try to cover the city,” Hurley said. “It allows us to take the bad roads before they get really bad. “
Lamination. Hurley said the mix for asphalt has changed over the past 20 years – previously it used an oil-based solvent, but now it has a latex base due to air quality issues. The oil-based solvent emitted volatile organic compounds (VOCs, or, according to Hurley, “the bad things”) into the air.
VOCs are emitted as gases by certain solids or liquids. However, the switch to latex came at a cost, with road life dropping to eight or nine years. Hurley also said the state Department of Transportation lab admitted to local municipalities that some batches of asphalt were quenched, resulting in delamination.
Delamination is the deterioration of the top layer of asphalt, causing it to peel off after exposure to traffic, plowing, frost, and other damage.
“That’s what we’re dealing with, not the traditional potholes,” Hurley said.
Hurley said the city treats the areas of delamination through a rolling process to extend the life of the road, a “strategy that works quite well.” He said the engineering principle behind this is similar to laminating a piece of wood – the laminate makes it stronger than the single piece of wood.
Deep recovery. The process of completely replacing and reengineering a road is normally only done in town due to drainage issues, according to Hurley. A complete rebuild occurs when all the remaining asphalt is crushed and turned into a new base.
New materials are added or subtracted as needed to change the elevation of the road to suit drainage needs. Then a two inch base coat is rolled out, followed by a one and a half inch top coat.
Cover. Asphalt paving is a method of paving that involves applying a new layer of asphalt over a deteriorating surface. Instead of tearing up the old asphalt entirely, a surfacing project will use the existing road layers as the base for the new pavement.
Teams apply a coat of oil glue, then place a new topcoat. Some severely damaged asphalt surfaces such as rutting, potholes, large cracks and expansions will require milling before a coating can be applied.
Hurley said Newtown has a lot of roads that weren’t properly paved in the past, so when his crews start milling they hit dirt instead of still having paved milled.
“It’s not supposed to happen,” said Hurley, who noted that city engineer Ron Bolmer is now coming out to examine the roads before milling begins.
Reconstruction / Reengineering of roads. Reconstruction of the road requires the complete removal of the existing road surface, and then the rehabilitation of the road bed – the layer below the road surface. It can be rebuilt using new material or it can be rehabilitated by spraying and mixing cement into the existing section.
The replacement or rehabilitation of the platform increases the structural capacity of the road section for long term performance. After that, a new layer of asphalt is placed on top.
In some cases, things like drainage or intersections can be redesigned for improvements.
Drainage works. Hurley pointed out that Newtown was once very rural and water from the town’s ubiquitous farms would simply be allowed to flow into the fields. Today, however, most of those fields are “people’s front lawns,” as the city has grown from around 5,000 to almost 11,000 homes.
The city has been in a “constant battle” to remedy old drainage, replacing rotting metal pipes with newer plastic pipes. He said the city has continued deterioration for 30 years and his crews still find rotten drainage pipes as they move from project to project involving related paving.
Even when the drainage pipes are predominantly concrete, small crossings formed from decaying metal could be weak links in the entire network.
Looking ahead to the year ahead, Hurley said he and his team are in the process of locating and assessing whether the metal drainage pipes in various neighborhoods are rotten enough, resulting in a much more expensive and complex replacement.
Bridge repair. Hurley, along with Bolmer, has been working for over 30 years to repair or replace 30 of the city’s bridges, with a budget of around $ 400,000 per year because the city’s leadership has been “very supportive.”
When Hurley and Bolmer started working in Newtown, the tragic collapse of a mid-section of the Mianus River Bridge on Interstate 95 in Greenwich worried them about bridge failures, so they made Newtown Bridges. a priority. There are still 10 to 11 bridges in town to be made. Hurley said that while not all of them will be complete by the time he retires, they will all at least be in the planning stages.
“Potholes are a downside, but a failing bridge will kill you,” Hurley said. “No bridge in town is rated less than ‘fair’; there are no “bad” grades. There are no potentially failing bridges due to our 30 years of working on the problem. “
Guide rails. Guide rails, the modern term that has replaced “guardrail,” are required by state law for roads with a grade greater than a certain percentage, according to Hurley.
Old cable and post railings are “no longer acceptable” in Connecticut; only metal guide rails are used. Hurley said many residents don’t prefer metal guide rails because they are “ugly” and “shiny.”
He also said the guide rails are not meant to prevent a vehicle from going down a slope, but to “keep them out of danger.” The city recently increased its spending on guide rails.
Hurley said if a slope is filled guide rails are not needed, but there are a lot of slopes in Newtown. Newtown is a “hilly town with miles of guide rails to install.”
“It’s a question of cost and time,” he added.
For residents hoping for new resurfacing, drainage and / or guide rail in their neighborhood, the city has determined the following roads or sections of roads – with accompanying linear foot measures [LF] – will be completed before July 1, 2022:
Currituck / Parmalee Hill Guide Rail, 782 LF; Drummers Lane Drainage, 120 FL; Drummers Lane Overlay, 1000 FL; Fairchild Road Drainage, 1,800 FL; salvage / paving of Fairchild Road, 1,800 FL; Hanover Road Guide Rail, 675 LF; Hattertown Road Guide Rail, 2938 FL; High Rock Overlay, 5,700 LF; and the Kale Davis Road overlay, 1,200 LF.
In addition, the overlay of Lazybrook Road, 1,500 LF; Leopard Drive overlay, 1,600 LF; Salvage / Paving Liberty Drive, 1,100 LF; drainage of Johnny Cake Road, 690 FL; Mile Hill South Overlay, 1600 FL; Old Gate Lane drainage, 670 FL; Old Gate Lane Overlay, 840 LF; Osborne Hill Road Drainage, 4,300 FL; Riverside Road surfacing / leveling, 930 FL; Drainage of Rock Ridge Road # 2, 1400 FL; and Washington Avenue Coating / Topcoat, 1,460 LF.
Additionally, the internal paving program will involve parts of Albert’s Hill, Bresson Farms, Echo Valley, Chimney Swift, Cobblestone, Edmond Road, Farrell, Founders Lane, Gelding Hill, Hattertown, Kent, Longview Heights, Old Castle Drive, Plumtrees , Poverty Hollow, Shady Rest, Sherman, Smoke Rise, Sugarloaf, Taunton Hill, Taunton Lake, Timbermill, Totem Trail and Walker Hill.
Chip sealing will be applied on Academy Road, Beagle Trail, Bennett’s Bridge, Bishop Circle, Brennan Road, Camelot Crest, Canterbury Lane, Castle Lane, Cherry Heights, Clapboard Ridge, Daves Lane, Elana Lane, Erin Lane, Fallen Leaf, Farmery Lane, and Georges Hill Road.
Also, Gopher Road, Green Knolls Lane, Holmes Farm Road, Indian Hill Lane, Maltbie Road, Meadow Woods, Newbury Road, Nighthawk, Pheasant Ridge Road, Philo Curtis, Quail Hollow, Quaker Lane, Quarry Ridge Road, Ridge Road, Sleepy Hollow Lane, Somerset Lane, Split Rock Road, Stonybrook Road, The Old Road, Twist Hill Lane, Valley Field Road South and Valley View.
Jim Taylor can be contacted at [email protected]
Ryan Orlando (left) and an unidentified Butterworth and Scheck worker in Stratford continue road work in 94-degree heat at the Sandy Hook Center on Tuesday, June 29. —Bee Photo, Taylor