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Early Winter Weather Forces Change In Greenwood Avenue Project

Unseasonably cold temperatures and heavy snow have delayed the completion of the Greenwood Avenue project until Spring 2020.

Greenwood Avenue and the streets around Greenwood Park have been waiting for several weeks to be paved. Scheduling conflicts on the part of the paving subcontractor kept it from being paved in the first part of the month. Since then, the weather has turned unfavorable and unseasonable early.

Troy White, Assistant City Engineer said the city and contractors have developed an alternate plan to open the streets to traffic this month.  Crews will create a temporary surface of asphalt millings within the roadbeds so the streets can be re-opened for the winter.

Paving will require that three conditions be met at the same time – that the gravel base is dry, that temperatures rise to and stay above 40 degrees, and that the paving crew be available to do the work. According to White, it is unlikely that these three conditions will all be met at the same time for a single day – much less the three days that will be required to complete the work. White said, “We don’t anticipate that these conditions will come together again until spring 2020.”

White continued, “As Jackson will live with and use this new pavement for decades to come, we will not compromise on the moisture and temperature requirements for paving. We also recognize that Greenwood and Jackson are high-traffic thoroughfares that cannot be left closed indefinitely. Therefore, an alternate plan has been developed to get Greenwood and Jackson and the streets around Greenwood Park opened to traffic as soon as possible.”

Contractors preparing the road bed late Monday told JTV that frost is already in the road surface.  The colder the foundation, the quicker the asphalt will lose its heat, making it difficult — if not impossible — to achieve adequate compaction.

Beginning immediately, the contractor will place a temporary surface of asphalt millings within the roadbeds. Once the millings have been placed, graded and compacted, the streets will be opened to traffic. In the spring of 2020, the streets will be closed once again, the temporary millings removed and the streets paved with hot mix asphalt.

White said the city and contractors realize that this is unorthodox and far from ideal,  but they feel that it is the best solution for the conditions that they are now presented with. The temporary surface will not been as smooth and clean as a new asphalt surface and it will require maintenance over the winter months. During winter plowing, the temporary surface will be treated much like a gravel road in that the plowblades will not be lowered to scrape into and push around the temporary material. When ripples and bumps do inevitably develop, the contractor will grade them out so that the streets remain open and usable by the public until such time that the permanent asphalt surface can be paved in the spring.

Last week’s nine inch snowfall was the earliest significant accumulation on record.  Since then, temperatures have remained ten to twenty degrees below normal.  A statewide construction dispute earlier this year, a wet and cold spring and the early arrival of winter weather have disrupted and delayed road construction projects throughout Southern Michigan this fall.

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