'Squishy' asphalt on Meredith streets to be replaced
MEREDITH — The pavement laid at the downtown intersection of routes 3 and 25 was made with contaminated asphalt and will need to be repaved next month, according to the state Department of Transportation.
When state road workers laid down a new layer of high-strength asphalt at the intersection on the nights of July 24 and 25, tests were taken of the liquid asphalt that later showed it was not up to specifications for high-strength pavement, said Jim Bowles, the district construction engineer for DOT.
"Asphalt contamination is fairly common on road projects," Bowles said. "Tests are taken all along the line by the contractors, but often when it gets to the point of laying the pavement something has gone wrong."
The intersection, which is heavily traveled in summer months, is slated to have its first-ever high-strength pavement, which is needed because in the hot summer months, the pavement can get hot as drivers sit and wait at traffic lights.
"Cars sitting still create heat in the pavement, which is already very hot, and that can make normal asphalt squishy," he said.
The state, which was paving the intersection as part of its yearly multi million-dollar District 3 Pavement Management Plan, sent workers to the intersection after the bad test results and found that while the pavement is not unsafe, "when we pushed it at the edges it started to move," Bowles said.
The provider of the asphalt, Pike Paving of Northfield, will pay for the new asphalt. The bad asphalt mixture was likely caused by materials supplied to Pike, so the contamination is probably not the paving contractor's fault, Bowles said.
"When you call for a higher standard of pavement, these things can happen; in fact, it happens to us multiple times each paving season throughout the state," Bowles said.
The repaving of the intersection will be done sometime after Labor Day, he said.