Chip seal failure leads to emergency declaration to fix roadways
Repaving projects on Austin Avenue and Del Webb Boulevard were completed in late November after an attempt at resurfacing the roadways with a chip seal process in October failed, Georgetown Transportation Services Manager Mark Miller said.
"The chip seal process failed and created unsafe driving conditions," Miller said, adding that the city declared an emergency to repave the roads before weather conditions made them too difficult to repair. "Winter is not an ideal time for paving or any construction projects. When it is cold, it can be very difficult."
Chip seal is a pavement surface treatment that mixes hot oil and applies a top coat of aggregate and asphalt to resurface the roadway.
Asphalt paving cannot be done in the rain or when the temperature is below 50 degrees, and asphalt availability and moisture content in aggregate stock at asphalt plants can also affect paving schedules, according to a city news release.
The repair work was delayed because of rainy weather conditions and a lack of materials, Miller said. Heavy rains in the area Oct. 30–31 caused the limited availability of asphalt material, according to a news release.
The city opted to use Cutler Repaving Inc. to repair the two roadways after the previous process failed.
The contractor had been scheduled to repave several roads throughout the Square, including portions of Austin Avenue as well as Main, Eighth and Ninth streets. Unlike the chip seal process, the Cutler process removes 3/4 of an inch of asphalt from the road, grinds it up and mixes it with new materials before reapplying it to the road surface.
Because of the chip seal failure and the change in temperatures, repaving in downtown has been delayed until the spring, Miller said.
The downtown projects are expected to be completed before the Red Poppy Festival on April 25–27 on the Square, Miller said.
The Cutler process was also used in October to repave a portion of Williams Drive.