Flaws will force contractor to repave part of new road

Craters, cracks appear in Shepherds Mill asphalt

Union Bridge

October 25, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Craters and cracks mar a short stretch of the new Shepherds Mill Road near Union Bridge and the surface must be removed and replaced with new asphalt by the contractor, Carroll County officials said.

The 1 1/4 -mile road opened to truck traffic in April, to the relief of Union Bridge officials. The $2.2 million stretch that connects to Route 75 was designed to draw heavy cement trucks from the Lehigh Cement Co. off the town's Main Street.

"There are a few areas where the surface paving has failed," said Deborah A. Butler, acting chief of the bureau of engineering for the county Department of Public Works.

"It's a small area - it's not like the whole thing is falling apart," she said.

The two areas affected comprise about 600 square yards - about 3 percent of the overall work, Butler said.

Because the contractor has not been released from his performance bond, she said, a subcontractor who did the original work, F.O. Day Inc. of Rockville, will repave it.

The repairs should be done this week, weather permitting, Butler said. "Since they're going to repave it, at this point there is no additional cost to the county," she said.

Lehigh's recent expansion included a new entrance to its plant on Quaker Hill Road, which means trucks leaving the plant at the south end of town can bypass Main Street and travel east and south via Shepherds Mill Road and Route 75.

An average of 250 to 300 trucks a day use the new road, said Jennifer Caricofe, Lehigh's plant administrator in Union Bridge. The biggest trucks when fully loaded weigh 80,000 pounds each.

Shepherds Mill Road was built to handle these heavier trucks with a thicker-than-usual stone base, asphalt base and asphalt surfaces, Butler said.

The asphalt met all state specifications, she said.

"We're not really sure why" the surface failed, Butler said. "It's hard to say what the cause is. There are many factors involved."

The worst area is a stretch where the trucks apply their brakes just before crossing the railroad tracks as they approach Route 75, she said. The failure also could be weather related, if the asphalt was laid when it was too cold or wet.

Some of the surface has slid visibly to the outside of the road.

Near the tracks approaching Route 75, the yellow center line has split the length of several cars and a few potholes have opened. Other cracks run from the center line across the right lane.

The contractor had to wait for a large milling machine to become available, Butler said.

The machine will scrape 2 1/2 inches of surface material, which will be replaced with hot-mix asphalt.

Union Bridge Mayor Bret D. Grossnickle said he learned last week that the road - which is outside town - would be resurfaced.

"It was sliding off the base and they are going to replace it," he said.

"I'm glad it's not in town," Grossnickle said. "We have enough trouble with Main Street," where traffic is tied up by a state revitalization and beautification project.

Lehigh contributed land for the road as part of its $265 million modernization and expansion, which gave it the largest-capacity single kiln on the continent, capable of producing up to about 6,500 tons of dry cement a day.

Trucks carry the cement primarily to Baltimore, Washington and Northern Virginia.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.