Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tired of the Mess Drivers on U.S. 82 Take Asphalt with Them

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tired of the Mess Drivers on U.S. 82 Take Asphalt with Them

Article excerpt

NAHUNTA -- A recently paved section of U.S. 82 in Brantley County has been a headache for some motorists.

The 8-mile stretch of road began a virtual meltdown about 2 p.m. Tuesday and began sticking to the tires of passenger vehicles and heavy trucks, said Thomas Gill, an assistant engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation. The DOT received at least 60 claims for damages, some of them extensive, Gill said.

The road was closed Tuesday and will remain closed until at least Saturday while contractors remove disintegrating asphalt and resurface the roadway, officials said.

Many motorists complained of asphalt sticking to their car's paint, but others reported more severe damage. The gooey mixture of liquid asphalt and stone caked so thickly on some tires that it left no room for the tires to turn inside the fenders and the cars had to be towed.

Three tractor-trailer rigs sat in a field in Atkinson at noon yesterday, where they had been since the day before. Tim Cupp, who owns one of the trucks, figures it will cost $9,000 to replace his tires, get his truck cleaned and repair the electrical and hydraulic lines torn loose by the asphalt caked to his tires.

"I'm losing $550 a day with this truck sitting here," he said.

Douglas Robinson, who lives beside the stretch of bad road, was out watching the work yesterday. Robinson said some of the mixture got on his car, but he simply scraped off all he could.

Gill said that in his 15 years with the DOT, this is the first such experience he has had with road pavement damaging vehicles.

A Pentecostal Holiness minister as well as an engineer, Gill was using all his training on two radios and a telephone yesterday, fielding complaints and overseeing the work of removing the bad pavement. He tried to placate one woman who had lambasted the DOT after getting bogged down in the sticky mess Tuesday.

"Everything was tested. Everything looked OK," Gill said. "It just all of a sudden . . . started coming up."

The affected area starts just east of the Satilla River and runs four miles west.

The section was paved with a new type of surface coating in which lightweight, synthetic stones are mixed with rubberized liquid asphalt to form a durable cover that could extend the life of a highway for up to 10 years, said Chad Hartley, assistant district engineer at the DOT's Jesup office. …

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