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County to improve roads

Andy Ouriel • Apr 8, 2014 at 4:00 PM

The sun has finally crept out, melting away snow that covered — and sometimes buried — Erie County’s roadways all winter long.

But the rays are also shining light on particular pavement problems.

A brutal winter contributed to some busy roadways cracking and deteriorating, possibly compromising commuter safety. To smooth out these problems, the Erie County engineer’s office has directed funds to fortify these roadways.

The office has set aside about $1.6 million, or almost 25 percent of the office’s annualoperating budget totaling $6 million in 2014, to enhance and maintain several roadways later this year.

In recent years, the county has designated about $1.2 million toward this annual road improvement project.

“This program is slightly larger than in years past, but as you can observe while driving around the county, this winter was particularly hard on the roads,” Erie County project engineer Tim Lloyd said. “The ultimate goal (is to) extend the pavement life to provide the safest pavement while maximizing tax dollars”

Crews will improve roads by one of three ways:

•Resurfacing, or when crews covering a particular road with a new surface.

•Chip seal, also known as “tar and chip.” Crews place a thin layer of asphalt emulsion over the roadway and then embed another layer of aggregate material, solidifying the mixture, over it.

“This process preserves the pavement by covering the oxidized pavement and sealing small cracks, at a cost of approximately 10 percent of resurfacing” Lloyd said.

•Reclamite, a term for when crews spray an asphalt rejuvenating agent over the road.

“Restoring these properties extends the pavement life,” Lloyd said. “It penetrates the asphalt surface and restores the asphalt properties lost during the manufacture of the asphalt and subsequent aging due to oxidation”

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