Clare County Develops New Road Paving Method
It’s a struggle for almost every county in Michigan, keeping up with deteriorating roads and figure out how to afford the fixes. Clare County has some crucial stretches of roads they wanted to fix but nowhere near the budget to do so.
After a little ingenuity, they think they have come up with a way to slash contradiction cost and time. Clare County has a six-mile stretch of Old 27 they wanted to re-do this summer. Problem was, it would take five months and cost $1.2 million per mile.
“Which we would not be able to do, we did not have the funding,” says Clare County Road Commission Chairman Mike Duggan, “That would take our whole budget to do the mileage we did this year.”
“If we did do the work, it would be one mile a year and the entire rest of the county would’ve suffered,” says Clare County Road Commission engineer Deepak Gupta, “We had to come up with an alternative design.”
After four years of tinkering and testing, Gupta came up with the idea of a “sandwich seal,” waterproofing a single layer of asphalt to place on top of the existing road.
“Nobody has done the sandwich seal before,” says Gupta, “All that really is a chip seal on top with an asphalt overlay of about two or three inches in the middle and another chip seal below that so that’s the sandwich part.”
What took months, now could take a week. What took millions now costs less than $200,000.
“If we didn’t put the top layer of chip seal then we’re getting into a standard fix that many other people do we just took one more step,” says Gupta.
They expect it to last up to 15 years. If that’s the case, we can expect to see this technique to spread statewide.
“Let’s see how it works but we’re very excited and hopefully we’ll get great results,” says Duggan.