A lower-cost method of repaving roads that Coweta County started using a few years ago isn’t too popular with some Cowetans.
Tuesday night, the Coweta County Board of Commissioners discussed doing away with “double surface treatment” as a method for restoring some roads and streets.
Commissioners said they had gotten many complaints on roads that had been repaved using the technique, which is similar to a “chip seal” method.
“I’ve had several constituents who say, ‘If I had known it was going to be like this I would have just left the old road like it was,’” said Commissioner Rodney Brooks.
Commissioner Bob Blackburn said he’s gotten the most calls about Newton Road.
There were some issues with that project, said Tod Handley, Coweta’s director of transportation and engineering. There were issues with weather, and the project lasted into the colder months. “Usually you don't like to do double surface treatment, or any surface treatment, when you have cooler temperatures and damp weather,” Handley said.
The county hasn’t yet accepted the road back from the contractor or released all the money to the contractor.
“We’ve let them know that we are still not satisfied… We’d like to watch the road and see how it performs. And if it doesn’t perform to our satisfaction we’re going to have them redo the road,” Handley said.
Blackburn said the calls he’s been getting are from people who have never called and complained before. He’s also had people call about other roads when they were first redone, who then called back and said that things got better after the road had settled.
Commissioner Tim Lassetter said he too has heard from people who say things got better after a while.
“They didn’t know what to expect,” he said.
Resurfacing a road with double surface treatment runs about $130,000 a mile, Handley said. The “crack-relief interlayer” type of road resurfacing, which is for roads that haven’t gotten too bad, runs $180,000 to $190,000 a mile.
Full-depth reclamation, the best way to redo a road and the type of rehabilitation that has to be done when a road is in very bad shape, runs about $275,000 per mile, Handley said.
The county began doing the double surface treatment in 2014, and in that time, nearly 20 miles of county roads have received the treatment.
Double surface treatment includes a layer of tar, a topping of stones, another layer of tar and then a topping of “n10” sand, which is made from crushed gravel.
“The use of double surface treatment hasn’t come without some complaints,” Handley said. People will say, “We can’t cut our grass now because y’all put dirt at the edge of the pavement or my driveway is rough.”
He’s gotten calls from people saying, “I don’t live in Alabama, I don’t want this gravel in front of my house.”
When the sand top layer is put on, “There is always going to be excess sand, so you have dust and excess sand to start with.” But after a while, that excess sand goes away.
“We have talked to several people who live on those roads, who drive those roads, tell us they like the roads,” Handley said. “They can’t tell much difference between it and typical asphalt.”
When trying the double service treatment was first discussed, the technique was going to be limited to roads that get no more than 200 cards per day. That was then changed to 400 cars per day.
Brooks said he doesn’t want to see the technique used on subdivision streets, or roads with speed limits of 25 mph or less. He’d prefer to see “plant mix asphalt” used on subdivision streets.
Brooks said his constituents worry that the road repaving technique is hurting their property values.
Commissioner Bob Blackburn said he wants county staff to have an “enhanced conversation” with every contractor, “so they know full well we want it right.”
“I guess we will get with staff and talk about it some more,” Poole said.