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Trustees seek fix to cracked pavement on Austin Road

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Photo by Hank Lohmeyer Serious cracking and ruts in an 800-foot-long section of Austin Road that was rebuilt just ten years ago are a concern to Orchard City trustees who are looking for the cause and a solution to the problem.

What to do about the failure of pavement on Austin Road, rebuilt just 10 years ago, will be discussed by the Orchard City Town Board at its regular meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

The Orchard City Town Board is faced with a decision on how to remedy the pavement failure occurring on Austin Road. The road was completely rebuilt and realigned in 2007 at a cost of about $1 million, half of that coming from grants, according to then-mayor and current trustee Tom Huerkamp who reported on the project to the town board last month.

During their Nov. 2 work session, trustees reviewed a proposal from engineers for evaluating the pavement problem and creating a design to remedy it. Cost of the engineer's study, evaluation, and design would be $4,325 and require a $1,500 down payment, according to discussion at the session.

A long stretch of pavement on the section of road, over 800 feet as reported, is suffering surface cracking and noticeable rutting. The Austin Road rebuild and realignment project in 2007 went from Highway 65 to 2100 Road, a distance of almost one mile.

Some board members believe the cracking and rutting is being caused by unstable subsurface conditions and moisture in the soils.

Town trustee Gary Tollefson told other board members at their October meeting that an engineer's preliminary asessment of the problem included the comment that, "You may not have gotten what you paid for."

Tollefson, a trustee roads committee member, said that he has done records research on the project. Last week at the work session he reported discovering that the town had not paid for any soils testing nor for any compaction testing on the road base at the time of reconstruction 10 years ago. There is evidence that testing was done on the asphalt overlay only, he reported.

The engineer's proposal, which is set to be discussed again at the Wednesday, Nov. 9, board meeting, proposes doing soils sampling with log reports being made available to the town board for its own review.

There is the opinion on the board that poor and/or wet soils are almost certainly a root cause of the pavement failure. An alternative was suggested. Instead of the engineer's study and another rebuilding of the 800-plus feet of road, the idea is to simply put another two-inch asphalt overlay on the section hoping that it will last another 10 years and wind up being in the long term more cost effective than a complete rebuild. Other trustees noted that very little overlay could be put down for the $4,325 cost of the engineer's study and report.

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