Indiana DOT: $71M of asphalt work under scrutiny due to possible contractor error
- Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) officials reported that up to $71 million of 2014 state road projects may be defective and could deteriorate ahead of schedule due to flaws in the asphalt mix.
- State officials claim that the cause of crumbling asphalt is an insufficient amount of binder in the asphalt mix, while contractors believe that the problem lies with the recycled asphalt INDOT incorporated into its specifications in 2010.
- INDOT says any contractor who used faulty asphalt must replace it, reimburse the state through withheld payments, or INDOT may sue the contractors for breach of contract.
INDOT officials say they are currently testing asphalt samples from 188 recent road projects across the state but haven't reached any conclusions yet as to whether any faulty asphalt has been used.
Although some contractors claim that it’s harder to achieve the right balance of rock and liquid binder when using the specified recycled asphalt, INDOT says it should not affect the performance of the asphalt.
John Leckie, INDOT state materials and tests director, said it’s the primary contractor’s responsibility to make sure the asphalt makers calculate an adequate mix design. "Our perspective is that the mix design – the recipe – is their responsibility," he said.
Indiana Republican House leaders have also joined the fray and are calling for an independent investigation to determine who is to blame. "This could be costing the state a lot of money for years to come," said State Sen. Carlin Yoder, "and we need to find out who is accountable."
- Indystar.com INDOT probes $71M crumbling road mystery
- SouthBendTribune.com Did Indiana spend $71 million on crumbling asphalt?
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter