Q. Why are there so many grooves in the left lane pavement along U.S. 74 East from Bolton to Riegelwood? The pavement in the left lane heading towards Wilmington has multiple grooves that last for miles. It is difficult to drive on, especially when wet. What happened to that section of highway and is the NCDOT aware and planning to address it?
A. According to Kenneth Clark, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Columbus County maintenance engineer, the milling done in the left lane was to reduce the severity of bumps that are caused by movement of the old concrete underneath the eastbound lanes, which is of 1926 vintage.
“We attempted to do the same thing in the right lane, but encountered problems with a longitudinal joint blowing apart under the pressure of the milling head,” Clark said.
The joint was created in the early 1970s when the original road was widened and has had some traffic loads placed right on top, Clark said.
“This was a temporary fix to address the numerous complaints (and) safety concerns we have had about the ride quality of the road. We are fully aware of the situation and have an extensive project in the works that is scheduled to be let in May,” Clark said.
He said the project will include removal and repair of the “thrusted” concrete joints down to the subgrade, as well as some widening toward the median “in order to get traffic off of the aforementioned longitudinal joint.”
The project also includes profile milling and resurfacing.
Due to current contractor workloads, project work won’t likely begin “until closer to the fall,” Clark said.
“As a result, we decided to go ahead and perform the recent joint profile work as a stop-gap measure to get us through the summer until the roadway can be permanently fixed as part of the upcoming project,” he said.
Date posted: April 4, 2012
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