By Sue Botos
The city has turned up the heat on the contractors handling the Avalon Drive resurfacing after portions of the street turned into sticky goo during the recent heat wave.
At last week’s City Council meeting, the last before its August summer recess, Mayor Pam Bobst stated that several calls had been received from Avalon residents expressing concern over the performance of the surface, which became tacky in the 90-degree-plus temperatures.
The pavement, referred to as “double chip seal and fog seal,” was put in place as a temporary fix for the rough road until needed sewer work can be done. Bobst explained at prior council meetings that the Avalon sewer project cannot be started for about five to six years, the expected lifetime of the new surface.
Chagrin Valley Paving Inc. was the successful bidder for the project, coming in at $174,000. City officials estimated that a traditional asphalt paving would run upwards of $1 million. Before deciding to go with the new paving, city officials observed a similar project in Cleveland Heights. No trouble with “meltdowns” was reported there.
Bobst said she and safety-service Director Mary Kay Costello met with representatives from Chagrin Valley Paving and subcontractor Specialized Construction, which had done the Cleveland Heights job. She said that the intersections with Wagar Road, Beachcliff Drive, Morewood Parkway and the clock tower area have been re-enforced with asphalt at the contractor’s expense.
A letter dated July 23 and distributed to Avalon residents stated, “The Avalon Drive surface treatment called for a ‘premium application’ of two binder layers and then slag layers applied separately, then topped with (an) emulsion seal to create a surface application that could serve our community’s needs for a number of years before water line and sewer work could commence.”
“It was rolled and placed correctly, but it did not turn out the way we expected,” Bobst stated. She added that while the additional work on the intersections stabilized these areas, the overall performance of the surface was below expectations.
In addition to the intersection work, Bobst said that the contractor applied a product to the rest of the surface, which would help bind it to the subsurface during hot weather. She said that when the temperatures rise enough, to about 85 degrees and above, the contractor will continue to apply the limelike material to prevent the surface from softening.
“This is temporary, but temporary in the sense that it will last five years,” Bobst said. She added that when she observed the surface, she noted that the shiniest areas were not wet, but that other areas became tarlike.
“That was unacceptable,” she stated.
City Hall had been fielding concerns from residents about the black substance tracked into driveways and stuck in tire treads. Bobst said that the contractor will address these issues, and contends that any stain due to residue from the oils in the surface treatment product will diminish and wear off.
Bobst said that while there were some complaints from residents when the first layers were laid down, the trouble with the emulsion did not really start until the hot weather hit.
Although Chagrin Valley Paving has assured the city that the surface treatment will cure into a hard surface over the autumn months, Bobst said that until the curing process is complete, the city will continue to monitor the situation. “We’re holding their feet to the fire, and we will have roads that meet our expectations,” she stated.
Councilman Tom Hunt, whose Ward 1 includes Avalon, stated, “When this is happening in front of your house, you’re adamant. Once it was explained, it quelled a lot of fears and anxiety.”
“It’s not going to be perfect, but it will be after the sewers are done,” added Bobst.