Bad asphalt equals bad news

Staff Writer

    The ongoing Monroe Street Extended storm sewer project just received an extension, according to Mayor John Schultz.
    Schultz reported the project, which was nearing completion, took a blow late last week when state officials deemed the asphalt used to repave the street does not meet state code.
    “INDOT officials have brought it to our attention that the asphalt materials used on the East Monroe project did not meet INDOT specifications. The asphalt material was deemed ‘failed material’ by INDOT and has to be removed,” Schultz said. “We are disappointed the material has to be removed and replaced, and sorry about the inconvenience for our local residents, but we want to ensure the pavement is durable in the long term. The replacement will take place as soon as possible.”
    Decatur Operations Manager Jeremy Gilbert said this morning work will begin Wednesday to remove and replace a small section of the road. Once the new asphalt has been rolled and cooled, a core sample will be taken and sent to INDOT for retesting. After receiving the go-ahead from INDOT — which Gilbert said he is confident will happen — the remainder of the road will be replaced.
    Although Gilbert was unable to give an exact timetable for the retesting, he said the project is expected to be finished by the end of the month.
    “This is just one of those things that happens,” Gilbert said. “Any material that goes down has to go through materials testing with INDOT to make sure it meets all the standards. And their (INDOT) standards are really high.”
    Gilbert said the binder, or first coat of asphalt, fell just below the minimum set by INDOT.
    The repaving will not cost the city any additional funds as the material used was provided by sub-contractor E&B Paving.
    “This was out of the city’s hands. Actually, it was out of E&B’s hands,” he said. I hate to say this is a big failure because it wasn’t. Like I said, it’s just one of those things that happens. All in all, the project went really well. And we were really ahead of schedule until this happened.”
    Completion of the project was originally scheduled for Sept. 17.