June 24, 2018
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Section of new road surface in Madawaska fails state testing, slated for replacement

By Julia Bayly, BDN Staff

MADAWASKA, Maine — Roughly 1,800 feet of new paving laid down along Main Street this summer is targeted for removal and replacement after failing to meet Maine Department of Transportation density specifications.

“As we did the compaction tests [and] cut core samples we found they did not meet the density standards,” John Bither, DOT project manager, said. “The tests indicated a low area and sure enough, we all agreed that area does not meet the standards.”

The $650,000 DOT project was contracted to Lane Construction and the stretch of road in question is on the north side of the street between 7th and 12 avenues, Bither said, and will require about two days to remove and replace.

Bither earlier had hoped that with the help of a couple of warm days the work could be done this fall.

But on Friday, Christina Therrien, Madawaska’s town manager, said she had been informed the replacement has been delayed to next summer due to the cold weather.

The total project covered one end of Madawaska to the other and used 2,583 tons of asphalt. According to Bither, 360 tons will be removed and replaced.

“There are a lot of things that go on with hot mix asphalt,” Bither said. “All the tests we did on the materials passed quite well, but a lot goes on with the placement [and] if a roller is out of whack or the materials are not compressed just right, it can fail the test.”

Rodney Lane, district manager with Lane Construction out of Bangor, said, “This project, as with all [DOT] projects, needs a certain density of the mixture. At times around curbs or structures you don’t achieve those densities.”

Quality control measures are in place throughout the entire process, Lane said.

“The state people are there to take their tests,” he said. “In this situation there was enough of an issue we need to remedy it.”

Those types of tests are ongoing on all DOT projects, according to Ted Talbot, DOT spokesman. “That’s why we have project directors on the sites.”

“The Madawaska repaving is not an isolated incident,” he said. This past summer a section of newly paved road along Fort Kent’s Main Street was replaced after it failed state specification tests last year.

“As testing technology gets better we are better able to identify trouble spots in materials,” Talbot said. “That way what we do put down lasts the expected lifespan.”

Lane said his company does not want to leave any of its jobsites with inferior materials.

“We have a really good relationship with DOT,” he said. “We want to put down quality material and what is not quality, we want to replace.”

In addition to the road work in Madawaska this summer, deteriorating curbs and sidewalks were replaced.

“Overall the project went really well,” Therrien said. “Our Main Street was in terrible condition with huge ruts.”

Despite the removal and replacement project being delayed to next summer, there will be no effects to the driving public.

“That section is not going to fall apart or disappear over the winter,” Bither said. “It is just an area that needs to be fixed.”

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