A one-lane section of the S.C. 5 Bypass widening project has cracked and shown “signs of early deterioration” because the road material wasn’t mixed properly, said York County engineer Phil Leazer.
Boggs Paving of Monroe, N.C., primary contractor for the $11.5 million bypass-widening project, has acknowledged the problem and agreed to fix it, said Leazer. He said the problem involves “a couple hundred feet” of roadway.
“This is simply an area that did not get the cement mixture mixed up 100 percent, and because of that mix not being 100 percent, we have seen some issues crop up,” Leazer said. “It’s not a major issue. This happens from time to time on roadway projects.”
Leazer said the 5.1-mile widening to five lanes from S.C. 161 to S.C. 5 West has been contracted to be complete in February 2013. He said the repairs might mean a three-month delay.
“At this point, the contractor still thinks he can be complete on time,” said Leazer, who said he has been working with state transportation engineers on the road. “We could see a three-month delay at the end.”
The project was approved in 1997 as part of York County’s first Pennies for Progress road improvement package. But because of cost overruns and other delays with Pennies, the bypass work didn’t begin until about 18 months ago. York County voters approved a third round of Pennies projects last year.
York city officials have expressed frustration about the project.
“This has been one thing after another since 1997, and now it’s 2012,” said York Mayor Eddie Lee, who has complained that the project was approved “last century.” He has also voiced concerns about the need to make the road safer.
Lee and other council members discussed the issue during a City Council meeting last week. “This is very important,” Lee said. “Let’s hope there won’t be any more fatal or serious wrecks.”
York City Manager Charles Helms said county officials have assured him the problem will be fixed. “Everyone has agreed that we’re going to fix it,” Helms told the council.
Leazer said the problem with that section of the bypass became apparent a few months ago, when a crack began to form in the pavement. “As soon as we saw that, it raised a red flag,” he said.
Leazer said the problem area involves one outside lane just west of the S.C. 49 intersection. That area is on the approach to the new York Comprehensive High School.
He said state Department of Transportation engineers ran a battery of tests on that section of the roadway over a two-month period and determined that the material had not been properly mixed.
“It’s a very small section of roadway that is showing signs of early deterioration,” Leazer said. “For York County, this is really the first time we’ve had this particular issue come up.”
He said the road material in question will be removed and replaced, and additional asphalt may be added to that area. “What we’re going to do is make sure that whatever fix we do is long-term and does make the road last the 15 or 20 years that it’s going to last,” he said.
Leazer said he understands frustrations with seeing the project complete.
“We are working diligently to get that thing done,” he said. “We do have a commitment with the contractor and a contract that will fully widen the bypass around York to the five lanes that was committed to back in 1997.”