KYTC launches U.S. 68, AA preventive maintenance projects

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Work is set to begin on three pavement improvement projects along the U.S. 68 bypass and Kentucky 9 AA Highway in Maysville, officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said Friday.

The projects total $1.2 million under KYTC’s preventive maintenance program and include an ultrathin blacktop overlay on U.S. 68 (Heather French Henry Highway) starting Saturday, and a new cape seal treatment next week on 5 miles of Kentucky 9 between Kentucky 11 and the U.S. 68-Clyde Barbour Parkway.

Cape seal is a paving technique where a layer of small limestone chips is rolled into an oil-based sealant, which is then allowed to “cure” under traffic, according to Allen Blair, spokesperson for KYTC District 9. That treatment is then followed by a thin blacktop overlay to create a final driving surface, he explained.

“It’s one of several preventive maintenance methods, along with ultrathin blacktop, that the Transportation Cabinet is now using to preserve the life of state highway pavement,” Blair said. “Maintaining roads in good to fair condition – as opposed to waiting and repairing them when in poor condition – prevents the need for more costly blacktop resurfacing.”

The ultrathin paving work begins Saturday on the U.S. 68 bypass, where motorists will encounter several days of one-lane flagged traffic. Minor delays should be expected, Blair said.

The cape seal paving project will follow next week, starting first with prep work on Kentucky. Motorists should watch for intermittent lane closures and flagged traffic, he said.

Once the cape seal process begins – by Monday, Aug. 20, or earlier if schedules allow and the weather cooperates – contractors will be working in one lane of Kentucky 9 at a time, applying the oil-based sealant and spreading limestone chips over it. These layers are then pressed together by rollers.

“After an initial cure, usually that same day, traffic will be allowed back on the treated lane,” Blair said. “However, motorists should remember that it’s not the final driving surface, and should drive with caution due to the potential for loose limestone chips on the highway. A reduced speed limit of 25 miles per hour will be in effect.”

Motorists will encounter one-lane traffic, lane closures and flagging – especially at intersections – and should expect delays.

“Contractors will work to ensure traffic flows as smoothly as possible during construction. But, with heavy traffic on the Kentucky 9 corridor, motorists may want to seek alternate routes,” Blair said.

Cape seal work is very weather dependent, Blair said. Rain could delay the start of construction as well as its duration. Message boards will be used to communicate schedule changes.

Once the initial limestone chip and sealant layer is complete, the roadway must cure under traffic for two to three days, Blair said.

“Again, please follow posted speed limits and drive with caution. Then, contractors will apply a very thin blacktop layer over the chips to create the final driving surface,” he said.

Cape seal paving on a second section of Kentucky 9 will follow, with work taking place between the U.S. 62 and U.S. 68-Clyde Barbour Parkway intersections.

During construction, please heed all warning signs, leave space between vehicles for adequate braking or maneuvering, and remain aware of workers and construction equipment at all times, Blair said.

Work for this project is being done by H.G. Mays Corporation under three low-bid Transportation Cabinet contracts totaling $1,176,531 — with $372,251 for the US 68 ultrathin blacktop; and $420,817 and $383,463 for Kentucky 9 cape seal treatments.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is investing nearly $25 million into cape seal, chip seal, microsurfacing, ultrathin and other pavement preservation projects this year, Blair said.

“This is the largest investment in preventive maintenance since the program began in 2007,” he said.

“Preventive maintenance treatments slow pavement deterioration, correct minor surface distress, and last up to 60 percent as long as traditional asphalt projects for 30 percent the cost – in other words, a quick and cost-effective way to keep roads safer, longer,” Blair said.

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Work starts Saturday, next week