Friday, January 20, 2012

ITD intensifies micro-seal investigation

Industry experts recruited to determine why seal is deteriorating


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

The bad news: Idaho Transportation Department authorities are still scratching their heads over why the micro-seal is deteriorating only four months after it was applied on a 3.25-mile section of state Highway 75 just south of Ketchum.

The good news: ITD reported Thursday that the asphalt surface beneath the micro-seal has not been affected by the micro-seal failure.

In a press release, ITD announced that it has broadened its group of investigators looking into the micro-seal problem to include industry experts. The International Slurry Surfacing Association has been recruited to the case, as have personnel from Knife River Corp., prime contractor for the project, and Valley Slurry Seal, the subcontractor that applied the micro-seal.

The micro-seal was applied on the 3.25-mile section of highway in September as part of a highway resurfacing project on the 10-mile stretch of highway between Hailey and Ketchum.

The purpose of a micro-seal, premixed and applied as a slurry, is to "protect and extend pavement life and provide improved vehicle traction," ITD stated in the press release.

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ITD reported that the "mix design" of the micro-seal was approved prior to application and that Knife River passed its quality control tests at the time of application.

"ITD wants to assure the citizens of Idaho that we take our role as stewards of taxpayer money very seriously," stated Scott Stacey, the project engineer. "ITD will take appropriate action based on the findings of our ongoing investigation."

ITD reported that the agency still intends to have Knife River apply a micro-seal on the remaining portions of the 10-mile stretch of highway sometime this summer.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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