- The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is demanding a refund of $5.15 million from Fort Wayne, IN,-based highway contractor Brooks Construction unless Brooks agrees to remove and replace what INDOT has determined to be faulty asphalt used in a $16-million state road project Brooks completed in 2012.
- INDOT claims that Brooks used a flawed asphalt mix on the project and that the $5.15 million represents the cost of the asphalt materials.
- Brooks Construction is the first contractor INDOT has held financially responsible since reporting that there could have been as much as $71 million worth of faulty asphalt used in 188 state road projects.
INDOT began its investigation after receiving complaints of crumbling asphalt on recently completed state road projects and said it has been finding anomalies in asphalt mixtures since 2013.
Critics of INDOT have said the recycled asphalt the department added to its specifications several years ago and used in many recent road projects could be the culprit. But INDOT officials have countered that there is no connection between premature aging of the asphalt and the recycled material specifications.
John Brooks, an owner of Brooks Construction, maintains that his company met all INDOT specifications on the project — the Hoosier Heartland highway — and that INDOT itself conducted 72 tests on the asphalt mix during construction and approved all of them.
According to INDOT, the pavement Brooks provided was not consistent with the mix designs that the company presented to them.
However, considering that 40 contractors are involved in road projects with suspected faulty asphalt, some Indiana lawmakers have said an independent investigation is necessary.
"That sounds like a heck of a lot of people that set out to do wrong," said state Rep. Ed Soliday. "Something is missing from the picture."