The City’s Chip Seal Fiasco

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chip-seal-1City Forced to Rely on Efficient Cost-Savings Devices Which Did Not Work As Advertised –

Lost in the shuffle during the budget debate and the employee response was an interesting tidbit in which numerous residents came forward to complain about the use of chip seal on their streets.

The city had been using the product as a way to forestall the inevitable repavement that would be needed on a number of residential streets, but that the city could not afford at this time.

As the city put it in a press release, “Chip seals such as this are used in place of asphalt overlays because it is a relatively inexpensive way to extend the life of a street needing remediation. The process seals the street to minimize intrusion of water into the surface and can extend the useful life of a street for up to ten years.”

Or so they believed.  The problem is that sometimes when you cut corners trying to save money, you end up spending more money in the long run because you are using an inferior product.

As many residents complained, the chip seal was a bit spongy, especially as the weather heated up and this caused all sorts of inconsistencies and problems in the road surface.  Six or seven people in the same neighborhood came forward that night at the city council meeting with complaints about chip seal.

After much complaining, the city is finally admitting what apparently many people knew eight months ago, that this experiment has been an abysmal failure.  The city has now announced that it is working to address the problems with double chip seal on street.

In September and October of 2010, the city press release reported, the Public Works Department managed a Capital Improvement Project for the Contractor, International Surfacing Systems (ISS), to install a double chip seal on approximately 96,000 square yards of local street surface in various locations across town.

A letter to the editor appeared on October 17, 2010 in the Davis Enterprise which should have warned us about this impending problem, but few probably noticed and no one in the city offices apparently took heed.

Wrote Davis resident Kurt Austin, “One of the joys of childhood (and adulthood, for that matter) is being able to ride your bicycle or scooter, Rollerblade or play basketball on your neighborhood street. However, this has been made much less safe or enjoyable on many Davis streets recently with the decision to apply an ‘asphalt rubber chip seal’ on previously smooth surfaces. Plus, aesthetically it’s just downright ugly.”

“While I can understand the need to be frugal in this economy,” he writes, “I would much rather have preferred keeping our previous street surface, minor cracks and all, to the incredibly rough, bumpy, gravelly surface that has replaced it.”

This, he noted, is despite “reassurances on the city of Davis notice that states, ‘Your street will receive a chip seal with a finer aggregate that will give your street a smooth black finish.’ “

He wrote, “I know this town is big on city inspections. Maybe someone ought to go and out and inspect these surfaces. They will most certainly find them to be black, but not even close to being smooth!”

He continued, “Either the city promised what it could not deliver, or was duped by the company that completed the work. Either possibility is a big disappointment.”

He then concluded with an ominous warning, “Be warned. Your street could be next.”

He was right about that.  And now this has become another scandal for a city that cannot seem to get it right when it comes to cost-saving and about differentiating cost-savings from simply being cheap.

The city press release continued, explaining “This double chip seal was a two-step process with materials selected because they used rubber recycled from spent automobile tires and reportedly produced a durable driving surface for streets needing remediation.”

chip-seal-3
As mentioned, this was done in order to extend the life of the streets in an inexpensive way.

Chip seals, however, are traditionally rougher than an asphalt overlay. This is normal and to be expected. Over a year or so as traffic moves over the surface, the material is kneaded and the aggregates blend into the street, resulting in a smoother surface.

Several weeks after ISS completed the double chip seal project, city staff and residents observed that material was loosening from the street surface and becoming a nuisance.

To remedy this issue, ISS, at the City’s direction and for no cost, provided additional street sweeping to pickup the loose material.

As 2011 progressed into the summer months and the ambient temperature rose, city staff and residents observed that the double chip seal material exhibited a softness that was uncharacteristic of street surfaces. Davis Waste Removal’s tractor (for picking up green waste), made scars in the surface, and heavy vehicles were picking up the material in their tires.

I support ways in which to save money on capitol projects.  However, what seems to have happened is that the city, in order to find ways to get around the fact that they have a depleted road maintenance fund, instead of finding ways to save in other areas to divert money towards road maintenance, have tried to find ways to go cheap.

Sometimes, going cheap means getting innovative in your approach to providing basic city services to the public and sometimes it is just taking a shortcut and hoping it pencils out.  That latter situation appears to be what happened here, and we will now pay for this in other ways.

The city does not lay out what their “cure” is to this problem. 

According to the press release, they reported, “City Staff have put ISS and their surety on notice of this situation and have directed them to produce a cure at their expense. ISS has suggested a cure and City Staff is researching their suggestion. City Staff have engaged the City Attorney’s office for legal assistance and have hired an expert for technical advice.”

Is this a real cure, or more cost-savings approaches that, in the long run, will not really be cost saving?

In the meantime, it looks like the city will have to do something.

They concluded their press release, stating, “A solution to the issue should be implemented this summer or early fall. It will involve further construction activities to the streets in question, including no-parking days when the construction takes place. Affected residents will receive proper notification. It is the Public Works Department’s objective to correct this situation as soon as possible and with as little impact to the public as we can. We appreciate the patience of the community as we work to address the situation.”

In the meantime, we can only hope that the efforts of council to divert $1 million to road maintenance mean that we do not have situations like the Chip Seal fiasco arise in the future.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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31 thoughts on “The City’s Chip Seal Fiasco”

  1. biddlin

    Sacramento employs slurry seal which has comparable costs and longevity to chip seal and provides a smooth enough surface for roller-blading ! I wonder what the real savings are over traditional asphalt paving which lasts much longer ?

  2. jrberg

    Several residents complained about this street treatment to the Bicycle Advisory Commission some time ago, and the Public Works representative stated that the surface would smooth out with time. I haven’t observed much smoothing on the streets I’m familiar with.

    This is quite a disincentive for cyclists in a city that encourages cycling.

  3. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]The city press release continued, explaining “This double chip seal was a two-step process with materials selected because they used rubber recycled from spent automobile tires and reportedly produced a durable driving surface for streets needing remediation.”[/quote]

    Probably a well intentioned “recycling” effort gone bad – pushed by overly zealous environmentalists and those who buy into their indiscriminate hype. I’m sure there are useful ways to recycle rubber tires, but obviously chip seal on streets is not one of them. My guess is the city thought this would fit well with the “green” policy emphasis in Davis – but not all “green” ideas are good ones…

  4. Rifkin

    [i]”I would much rather have preferred keeping our previous street surface, minor cracks and all, to the incredibly rough, bumpy, gravelly surface that has replaced it.”[/i]

    I’m no civil engineer, but I share Mr. Austin’s point of view here: that a street with ‘minor cracks’ can wait a while for resurfacing. I think the point that the Vanguard has been pushing (along with city staff) is that our peripheral streets are in horrific shape and if we don’t resurface them on the schedule composed by the public works department, all hell will break loose. I think that is hogwash. I think it’s likely, at least for peripheral streets which get little regular traffic, our standard is too high. And that high standard results in us believing that our unmet street maintenance repair bill is much higher than it is.

    That said, for main thoroughfares (especially the ones being chewed up by the university’s b.s. bus system which is paid for by the City of Davis) I believe it is wise to keep them in as good a shape as possible. If we let them get run down, the chances of accidents or car damage or bike damage is much greater, simply due to the traffic volume.

    [i]”I support ways in which to save money on capitol projects.”[/i]

    It’s capital, not capitol. The latter spelling is exclusively used for the building housing a parliament in a capital city.

  5. Rifkin

    [i]”Probably a well intentioned “recycling” effort gone bad – pushed by overly zealous environmentalists and those who buy into their indiscriminate hype.”[/i]

    Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because this one application failed in this particular usage does not mean that using recycled rubber tires in asphalt overlays is not a proven effective application. It is ([url]http://www.clemson.edu/ces/arts/benefitsofRA.html[/url]). You have likely driven thousands of miles over it and did not know it. Keep in mind, of course, that the vulcanized rubber used in road surfacing is a petroleum product not too different from the petroleum in ordinary asphalt.

  6. E Roberts Musser

    To Rifkin: Note the rubberized asphalt is recommended over CEMENT. We don’t have cement streets in Davis. My comment still stands…

  7. Nora Oldwin

    We live on Grinnel, and were horrified by the chip seal application to our streets. No one could walk barefoot on the rough surface, or skateboard, and biking was hard, as was driving- – you noticed a definite resistance to the tires. Sue Greenwald came out to look at it and had a hard time walking on the surface even in sandals. At that point, grass was growing up through the chip seal, and it would have been comical if it weren’t for the ridiculous waste of money as a result of poor decision making. Now, summer is here and the surface is literally melting and pooling; we have to tear great chunks of it off car wheels and the city trucks routinely gauge the surface dragging heaps of gravel/tar and leaving wounds in the road. Awful.
    We wrote a petition as follows, which was signed by folks on our street, as well as the following streets (which are not exhaustive):Oyster Bay, Solito, Rutgers,F Street, Secret Bay, Campbell Place,Bryant Place, Shelter Cove Pl.,Malaga Ave. We submitted it to city council and to public works:
    “PETITION
    The undersigned are residents of streets adversely affected by the application of chip-seal during the 2010-2011 Davis Road Rehabilitation Project, which made our formerly smooth street surfaces unsafe and unusable for typical residential uses (walking, biking, skateboarding, rollerblading, etc.). As a result, we demand from the City of Davis:
    (1) That within 30 days of receipt of this petition the city hire an independent contractor (as was done in connection with the 2009 Road Rehabilitation Project), such as Associated Engineering Consultants or Pavement Engineering, Inc., to render an opinion about the quality of the chip-seal installation on our streets, and to offer recommendations for options to return the street surface to one of safety and usability;
    (2) That city representatives make themselves available to meet with us to discuss options, including slurry seal, or grind and overlay, (the independent contractor may have other solutions) for remediation of the street surface;
    (3) That the city immediately stop using chip-seal as part of its pavement management program in residential areas as this surface is unsafe and renders the streets unusable for typical residential activities.”

    I believe we collected over a hundred signatures. I have copies of the petition, should anyone like to sign it! Just contact me. But the bottom line is that everyone knows this was a mistake, City Council and public works included. We’ve asked to have a meeting with Public Works, and they, and Dan Wolk, are going to meet with a group of us over here in East Davis soon. I’ll keep everyone apprised of the date when we get it firmed up.

  8. Rifkin

    [i]”Note the rubberized asphalt is recommended over CEMENT. We don’t have cement streets in Davis. My comment still stands …”[/i]

    It’s used as an overlay on asphalt highways and roads and over cement. Your comment is misplaced.

    The point here is not that this use of chip seal was a mistake. Clearly it was. The point is that mixing rubber from old tires into asphalt mixes is a tried and true and successful re-use of old tires which has been going on for more than 20 years all over the United States and is not, as you stated, a usage “pushed by overly zealous environmentalists and those who buy into their indiscriminate hype.”

    You really do yourself a disservice by making such a baseless allegation.

  9. Observer

    [quote]Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because this one application failed in this particular usage does not mean that using recycled rubber tires in asphalt overlays is not a proven effective application. It is.[/quote]

    I agree with Rifkin here. I feel the same way about this as the ZipCar deal–it may or may not have been a wise move, but it was a sincere effort on the part of the council to serve the city and the environment. I’d rather see this type of “error” than have a council that chooses to play it safe and not try to be innovative.

  10. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]It’s used as an overlay on asphalt highways and roads and over cement. Your comment is misplaced. [/quote]

    From the website you linked to: “They are most frequestly found in asphalt overlays over portland cement concrete (PCC) and cement-treated bases.”

    Note the words “over portland cement concrete and cement-treated bases”. I’m assuming it takes overlaying CEMENT for the appropriate adhesion to take place? Am I missing something here??? Our streets are not portland cement concrete nor cement-treated bases in so far as I am aware. Enlighten me if that is not the case…

  11. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I agree with Rifkin here. I feel the same way about this as the ZipCar deal–it may or may not have been a wise move, but it was a sincere effort on the part of the council to serve the city and the environment. I’d rather see this type of “error” than have a council that chooses to play it safe and not try to be innovative.[/quote]

    Perhaps I didn’t make my point clear enough – which is entirely my fault. I have no problem using recyclables, I’m all for it – if appropriate and cost effective. But I also strongly believe that it is important to do a bit of investigating before hopping onto the “green” train. This city in general pushes for being “green” to such an extreme extent, that I often wonder if they have clearly thought out how cost effective and useful their ideas are. Take for example the disastrous solar panel project in central park. Does that mean I am against the use of solar panels? Of course not. However, I think enough research needs to be done ahead of time before ever committing to every “green” project that has a “feel good” quality, to make sure it is appropriate.

    My guess is that Public Works thought this was a great use of recyclable material and fit right in with the city’s policy of being “green”. On the other hand, perhaps they jumped the gun a bit quickly, and didn’t do enough research. Don’t know. However, I am very grateful they are listening to citizens, and halting this process, which is not working well at all. For whatever reason, the chip seal laid down did not adhere properly and has resulted in a mess. I want the city to make sure and follow up with the company, and get the company to fix the problem AT COMPANY COST. From what I understand, this did not happen with the Central Park solar project – the city had to eat something like $100,000 of its own money on that particular fiasco. If anyone knows more about this solar project, please fill in the details…

  12. hpierce

    I love it when folks have a slight understanding of a topic, then opine as if they were “experts”… there are two predominant road surfacing products: PCC (portland cement concrete), and AC (asphaltic concrete)… look up the word cement (Rifkin has this right)… cement is something that “binds” other substances together… in ‘normal concrete’, the binder is a pozzolan material… the material is volcanic in origin, and when mixed with water, it has properties that bind rock and sand into a stable, strong product. It is considered a “rigid” pavement… it loses its strength (assuming no metal rebar) when it cracks. Liquid asphalt (the La Bria tar pits are really asphalt pits) is the binder, or “cement” that binds rock material in what is considered to be a flexible pavement. Using crumb rubber (from recycled tires, primarily) mixed with AC helps keep AC pavement flexible, and tends to help seal out moisture from the underlying base rock and soil… “base failure” is what destroys most roads.
    In theory, except for surface “roughness”, the rubberized chip seal is a fantastic way to add useable life to AC streets. I suspect that there was a failure in the “ingredient” mix, that resulted in the problems [think baking and recipes… ever had a recipe go wrong?).
    Alchemists will not solve this problem.

  13. hpierce

    [quote]Our streets are not portland cement concrete [b]nor cement-treated bases[/b] in so far as I am aware. [/quote]You are incorrect … there are a number of streets that have cement-treated bases, or lime (another “cement”) treated basement soils. BTW, Olive Drive, east of Richard, and portions of Russell & B street are indeed PCC roads, but have been overlaid with AC… the Lincoln Highway was built of PCC… trivia question… where was the eastern terminus of the Lincoln Highway? (hint: there are at least two tunnels involved).

  14. Sue Greenwald

    David,
    You have been watching the council meetings, so you probably know that I have brought up this issue many, many times.

    I also brought this issue up at the budget. When the issue of road maintenance came up, I brought up the chip seal. I even requested that Bob Clarke come to the podium and address the issue, as I had done at previous meetings.

    I am happy that you have raised this issue David, because I have been the only one working on it for a long time.

  15. Rifkin

    FWIW, this afternoon, I drove over to Grinnell Drive, Monarch Lane and Layton Drive to see what the chip seal looked like. I got out and walked a bit of it, too, to see how it felt on my Saucony shoes.

    First, in terms of looks–at this point, recognizing that earlier it may have looked different–it looks perfectly normal, like a roadway which has recently been resurfaced.

    Second, it drives perfectly well. To my feel in the car, it felt a bit bumpier than the rest of Monarch, which was not resurfaced. However, the difference in the car was minor.

    Third, walking on it–granted, just for 50 yards on a very pleasant summer afternoon–I noticed no difference at all from any other asphalt covered street.

    My guess is that the mild bumpiness I felt in my car would perhaps be worse on a skateboard or a bicycle, given that a car has much better suspension.

    [i]”Several weeks after ISS completed the double chip seal project, city staff and residents observed that material was loosening from the street surface and becoming a nuisance.”[/i]

    People who live in the Slide Hill Park neighborhood can speak to this if I am wrong, but based on my visit over there today suggests that there is no mess now at all from loosening surface material. I looked along the concrete gutters and saw no loose aggregate and nothing amiss. Unless the street sweeper just cleaned those streets this morning, it appears any loose material problem is no longer there.

    [i]”Over a year or so as traffic moves over the surface, the material is kneaded and the aggregates blend into the street, resulting in a smoother surface.”[/i]

    It seems like those streets I inspected are pretty close to being there.

  16. Rifkin

    [i]” But I also strongly believe that it is important to do a bit of investigating before hopping onto the ‘green’ train.”[/i]

    Perhaps you need to do a little more investigating before you attempt to shove everyone else off the ‘green’ train.”

    You completely misread the link I gave, and you seem to have only focused on one particular usage. If you read the whole site–or just look up the topic on your own–you will find that ashphalts which include rubber from old tires is nothing new at all, is used all the time, all over the country, used on many types of roads and highways.

    I think your reflexive, misguided attack on this technology because you mistakenly believed it was some sort of green tech being foisted on the people of Davis by extremists says a lot more about your view of the world than it does about the technology.

    Assuming that a mistake was made on the streets in Davis where the chip seal was applied–I tend to believe the neighbors’ stories that it was the disaster they described last year–it’s possible that the contractor either made a mistake or just is not very good at his job, or it’s possible that someone on the city staff messed up, trying to save money but not doing enough homework in advance regarding this particular application on the streets where it was applied.

  17. Rifkin

    Another pavement product which might cause Elaine to blow her top and accuse others of having an ideological agenda is “recycled glass pavement.” It’s used in a number of types of concretes and some companies have perfected using the old, broken bits of glass in permeable concrete, which looks much like any other pavement but allows water to flow right through it.

    Joey Cohen, a friend of mine from college–sadly for Elaine, this kid was an environmental studies major at UCSB–started a for-profit recycling company back in the mid-1980s. His orignal idea was to contract with landfill operators all over southern California, having his workers pick out anything from the dump trucks which was to be buried. The trucks would come in, unload on a giant conveyor belt, and a bunch of illegal aliens–who else would do that awful type of work?–would pick out anything that Joey could resell for cash, especially metals and wood.

    It was good for the landfills, because they had less to bury. And it was good for Joey, as he was making good money.

    In the ’90s, when companies began mixing broken glass into pavement products, Joey made more money taking glass out of the trash, cleaning it, crushing it, and selling it to pavement companies.

    I haven’t spoken to him for at least 15 years–we were not close, but played a lot of poker together–but he once told me his company was about to start a trash mining operation. What that meant was they would dig up garbage that had been buried long before and mine from it anything (particularly copper and iron and compostable waste) which could be recycled and re-used or turned into compost.

    There were some serious obstacles to mining trash–notably a lot of buried hazardous materials you don’t want to expose to the air–so I am not sure if he ever got this project off the ground.

    Regardless, I point this out because it’s worth noting that it’s not just some impractical, leftwing environmentalists who are putting rubber and glass in the roads. It’s mostly for-profit companies who are competing in the market and benefitting themselves and others for so doing.

  18. Nora Oldwin

    Rich is right, that this balmy day doesn’t do justice to the horrors of the street surface. It’s not hot, so the surface isn’t pooling/melting. The gravel did get swept up after a while- – thankfully. Not today! But you can definitely see gauging, rips in the street surface. The point is that the street surface application completely denigrated the surface we had before. . . . old and cracked as it was. We’re lucky over here to have several street surface engineer neighbors- – experts in the field, as opposed to the rest of us- – who opined, shortly after the new street surface was laid, that the application was inappropriate for our streets. Poor choice of materials, or sub-standard application, or both- – we don’t know yet. And yes, Sue was very responsive to our alarm about the surface, as I must say she has always been, in my experience in the Slide Hill neighborhood, when neighborhood matters come up (as they have with traffic questions, issues involving the public pool, the park, etc.). We’re very thankful to her for her support of neighborhoods! As a neighborhood group, we’ve asked to be part of the continuing dialogue between council and public works, and we look forward to continuing to be actively engaged with the street surfacing issue.

  19. Sue Greenwald

    Rich, I went out there a number of months ago, and I don’t agree with your assessment. I walked around the entire neighborhood. I could feel large bumps through the bottom of my shoes; it was uncomfortable to walk on. It was far, far different from the pavement on my residential block. Pieces of the road were coming off, sticking to people’s shoes. Neighbors said it was being tracked into their houses. There was a lot of asphalt debris on the street and in the gutters.

    I am now told that it is melting and forming sticky pools in the heat.

    Staff has acknowledged that the chip-seal is failing, and that other cities have reported that their chip-seal from this contractor is also failing.

  20. Sue Greenwald

    I just noticed a very good article in today’s Enterprise about this. The headline [b]”City working on fix for streets’ chip seal problem”.[/b]
    Excerpts:

    The city is working to correct a problem where double-chip seal material, used to patch up streets, is loosening from road surfaces throughout Davis.

    A solution will be implemented as early as the summer or early fall at the contractor’s expense, according to a city news release….

    Chip seals are traditionally rougher than an asphalt overlay. But after about a year of traffic moving over the surface, the material is kneaded and the aggregates blend into the street, resulting in a smoother surface.
    However, several weeks after completion of the chip seal project, city staff and residents noticed that material was loosening from the street surface and becoming a nuisance. To remedy this issue, the contractor agreed to provide additional street sweeping to pick up the loose material at no cost to the city……

    As the temperatures rose in the summer months, the chip seal material exhibited a softness that was uncharacteristic of street surfaces. Davis Waste Removal’s tractor, which picks up green waste, made scars in the surface and heavy vehicles were collecting the material in their tires.
    The contractor has suggested a cure and city staff is researching the suggestion with assistance from the city attorney. The city also hired an expert for technical advice…………..

    In order to fix the problem, there will be construction activities on local streets that will result in no-parking days. The city will notify residents who live in the areas where construction will take place.
    For more information, call the Public Works Department at (530) 757-5686.

  21. Rifkin

    [i]”I went out there a number of months ago, and I don’t agree with your assessment.”[/i]

    I went out there [b]today[/b] and reported above [i]exactly[/i] what I found.

    It’s possible that you would still find it uncomfortable to walk on. Maybe your feet are more sensitive or maybe it was rougher “a number of months ago” than it now is.

    However, in my month-old, rubber-soled Saucony running shoes, it was perfectly fine to walk on Layton Drive. Today, at least, there was no gooing and no bits stuck to my shoes. (I am not claiming that I don’t believe these things have occurred. I do believe the neighbors and you. I just am saying how I found it TODAY.)

    As I noted above, driving on that surface was a bit less smooth than driving on the part of Monarch which was not resurfaced. It certainly was not terrible to drive on. But I agree that (even at this point) the resurfaced street is not as smooth as the unrepaired nearby street or as smooth as one would normally expect as asphalt street in Davis to be

    As Nora notes and I explained, today’s weather was very mild. My car’s thermometer said it was 74 degrees when I was on Layton Drive. So I will check back to see if there is a difference next time we have a heat wave.

    [img]http://www.cw-mccall.com/news/2002/images/historicgrinnell2.jpg[/img]

  22. Sue Greenwald

    [quote]However, in my month-old, rubber-soled Saucony running shoes, it was perfectly fine to walk on Layton Drive.[/quote]I don’t mean to be argumentative, Rich, but new Saucony running shoes are not the best test, IMHO. Running shoes are specifically designed to have an extraordinary amount of padding underneath. For the record, I was wearing regular shoes.

  23. Kurt Austin

    Rich–over 100 people disagree with your assessment (that we know of). People who actually live on the streets that were affected by the poor job and have lived on them over the past year, myself included. And you must not have looked closely, because even in TODAY’S moderate heat, there were multiple circular patches that were shiny and liquidy to the touch on Grinnel. I see them practically every afternoon. I witnessed representatives from the company that performed the job taking video of some of the exceptionally bad areas a few weeks ago, and we now know that multiple interests agree that the work was not what was promised. Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on your assessment of our streets. I think you should be grateful this particular job wasn’t performed on the road in front of your home.

  24. Rifkin

    [i]”Rich–over 100 people disagree with your assessment (that we know of). People who actually live on the streets that were affected by the poor job and have lived on them over the past year, myself included.”[/i]

    Kurt: fair enough. I just reported what I experienced myself driving on Monarch, Grinnell and Layton, and walking up and back the south end of Layton Drive yesterday, around 12:45 PM. If my experience upsets you, so be it.

    Note nonetheless that I couched my conclusions, noting that I BELIEVE YOU and the others in that neighborhood who stated there were serious problems with the overlayment. Yet in my 10 minute experience, I stand by my conclusions that:

    1. It looks normal enough;
    2. Though bumpier than other streets, it was fine to drive on;
    3. I had no problems at all walking on it yesterday in mild weather;
    4. I saw no crap in the gutters from the street; and
    5. I saw and felt no gooing of the tar.

    As I said multiple times above, I don’t doubt your complaints or those of anyone in that area. I am sure you would not be complaining if you did not experience serious problems. Yet I did not personally experience any of those yesterday. I am surprised that you seem to have taken such personal offense at my reporting what I found yesterday. I will go back and check again when it is 95 degrees out.

  25. E Roberts Musser

    To hpierce: First of all, not once did I claim to be an “expert” in highway pavement (nor do I). I only made specific comments based on the link Mr. Rifkin provided.

    If you look at the picture in the link given by Mr. Rifkin, you will see that the chip seal is applied to a concrete cement highway, which is how I know chip seal to be used. The article itself also states “They are most frequently found in asphalt overlays over portland cement concrete (PCC) and cement-treated bases”. Note the “over portland cement concrete”. So I think it is understandable that as a layperson I would assume from the picture and the words that the chip seal should be used on PCC, especially bc it represents a smoother surface for adhesion.

    I appreciate your fuller explanation, but even you are not really sure why the chip seal in this case failed. Mr. Rifkin is actually claiming there is no problem with the chip seal that he can tell. Yet Public Works itself seems to be admitting there was a problem. It will be interesting to see if Public Works ever discovers why there was a problem… right now we are all just guessing…

    I am still grateful for the city Public Works Dept. being so responsive to citizens’ complaints…

  26. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]…Elaine to blow her top…[/quote]

    LOL Bit of hyperbole, don’t you think? Trust me, you’ll know when I “blow my top”, and this wasn’t it!

  27. E Roberts Musser

    Interesting article from http://www.t2.unh.edu: The main reasons for chip seal failure:
    1) aggregate/emulsion spread rates
    2) construction techniques
    3) weather
    4) surface prep
    5) traffic control
    6) material problems

    Chip seal is to considered to have failed if there is:
    1) stripping (loss of cover stone)
    2) bleeding (excess asphalt on the road surface)

  28. Rifkin

    [i]”If you look at the picture in the link given by Mr. Rifkin, you will see that the chip seal is applied to a concrete cement highway, which is how I know chip seal to be used.”[/i]

    There are 11 pictures on that one page, Elaine. Read further.

  29. Reverend MAD

    Dust. Now that is becoming the problem after turning cars on cul-de-sacs and big garbage trucks grind the rocks coating the surface into a fine powder. Hope there is no bad stuff is this dust. A good amount of the powder is coating cars and interiors of the house at least on my cul-de-sac.

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