Criticism of new street resurfacing method

Residents criticize new street resurfacing method(Naples, Florida) Collier County officials tout it as a “state of the art” resurfacing method that costs about half of what they pay to lay asphalt. But residents who live in a neighborhood where the “micro-surfacing” product is being tested aren’t impressed. The county is trying out the product on seven county roads, including those in the neighborhoods of Queens Park and Lely Resort, both in East Naples. The first street to receive the “polymer modified cold mix paving system” treatment was Pine Wood Circle, off Airport-Pulling Road. “In less than a half a day, the residential street was smoother, more skid resistant, and had an improved appearance,” a press release from the county’s transportation division states. But that’s not how Keith Tompkins, homeowner’s association manager for Queens Park, where some roads have received this application, sees it. He said residents are fuming about how poorly streets in their neighborhood look after this resurfacing material was applied. And he said they don’t appreciate their community being made a testing ground for the product. “It seems like they are experimenting with us. To me, the experiment is a failure,” he said. “It (micro-surfacing) doesn’t go down very smoothly. It is much darker than the existing road. They’ve taken this black stuff and made a loop around the perimeter of Queens Park, and it stands out, and looks terrible.” In addition, he said, the product was poorly applied. “They left tremendous debris in gutters. It rutted up immediately, and shows every imperfection in the road,” Tompkins said. “We are years away from getting the rest of the community paved, so for years now, we’ll have this weird black stripe circulating through Queens Park in some of the most heavily traveled parts of the community. We didn’t ask for this,” he added. Moreover, neighbors say the east end of Kent Drive has ruts, and is uneven, and garbage trucks have left deep tire treads. They also say the manhole covers have become pot holes because they sit two inches below the surface. And they said when it rains, water ponds in the center of the street. Also irking neighbors was a notice put on their doors before the product was applied, requesting that they drive slowly for several days and not make sharp turns of the wheel, or turn on sprinklers and get the surface wet. A county official who is overseeing the program said the job isn’t finished in Queens Park, and overall the process seems to be working great in other neighborhoods. Anthony Wiggins, the supervisor of road maintenance projects for Collier County, said the contractor is going back into Queens Park to finish the job with a smaller machine needed to work in the community where there are cul-de-sacs. “We’ve addressed that particular area,” he said. Over time, he said, micro-surfacing settles in. “I do know this stuff in four to eight weeks kind of seals itself,” he said. Should the product work, the impact on the county’s resurfacing program could be staggering. The county’s current resurfacing method, which involves partial removal of existing asphalt and application of hot asphalt, costs approximately $4.80 per square yard. A double application of micro-surfacing only costs about $2.30 per square yard. “One mile of micro-surfacing can easily be applied within one day, with normal roadway traffic resuming in about an hour,” Shannon Dennie, Collier County’s engineering inspector, said in a prepared statement. “The cost savings allows for twice as many roadways to be resurfaced with micro-surfacing for the same price as regular asphalt resurfacing.” Micro-surfacing is prepared with granite, while asphalt is made with limestone. The granite lends itself to a more aesthetically pleasing appearance after application, Dennie said. The process also doesn’t involve milling a road prior to resurfacing, which eliminates the unsightly “combed,” grated roadways that occur during a typical resurfacing with asphalt. And Dennie said that micro-surfacing eliminates hydroplaning and increases skid resistance, and is resistant to rutting. Dennie said that a road must be structurally sound to receive micro-surfacing. “Micro-surfacing is best utilized as a roadway preservation and damage-prevention material, as opposed to a new construction process,” she said. “Traditional asphalt resurfacing is still one of the most cost-effective methods to repair structural problems in existing roadways.” Wiggins said this process will never replace asphalt paving projects in Collier County. “It’s preventative maintenance,” he said. “We’re prolonging the life of the road. We’re giving it (the road) better skid resistance, and kind of sealing the road to prevent damage to the road base.” To see how well the product works on a busy highway, a strip has been applied along Goodlette-Frank Road, just south of Golden Gate Parkway. “We are monitoring it every couple of weeks to see how it works in a high-volume area,” Wiggins said. “It’s doing great. But it’s only been down a week-and-a-half.” He said other streets where this process might be used haven’t been identified. He said the product can help delay what can be an expensive asphalt repaving job of streets with curbs and gutters, so the county might focus on these type of streets. “If we didn’t use this (micro-surfacing), we would have to go in and mill and pave. Milling is very expensive. This gives me seven more years of life, and maybe even more,” he said. Wiggins said the county is going to consider other new technologies in its preventative maintenance program to save tax money. In an effort to get a better price on the micro-surfacing product, Collier County has teamed up with the city of West Palm Beach on a contract for the material. The Collier County Commission last week approved the agreement, which is costing the county $175,000. West Palm Beach is also using the same company as Collier to do the work, a Bartow firm called Florida Highway Products Inc. Pioneered in Germany in the early 1970s, micro-surfacing was introduced in the United States in 1980.By JOHN HENDERSON,

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