Contractors expect to begin paving Kentucky 9 AA Highway through Maysville later this week, officials said.
The work encompasses two Transportation Cabinet projects totaling $800,000 in preventive maintenance work, KYTC spokesperson Allen Blair said Tuesday.
The project includes a special and sometimes controversial paving technique called a cape seal, which will be applied along 5 miles of the highway between Kentucky 11 and the U.S. 68-Clyde Barbour Parkway, mile markers 7 to 12 in Mason County.
The cape seal treatment begins with a layer of small limestone chips rolled into an oil-based sealant, which is often termed a chip seal. It must cure under traffic for several days, then a thin layer of traditional blacktop will be applied on top to create a smoother, final driving surface.
A similar method, minus the blacktop layer, was used last year to pave a portion of the AA Highway in Bracken County and motorists who travel the highway routinely were unhappy with the end result — a rough surface and a noisy ride. But state officials said at the time that the method is cheaper and also effective.
“Contractors plan to start the chip seal portion of the work by late this week, Thursday or Friday, Aug. 23-24, on the first section of the AA Highway between the Kentucky 11 and U.S. 62 intersections,” Blair said.
Crews will be working in one lane of the highway at a time. Motorists should watch for 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 AA corridor – the highway serves approximately 12,000 to 14,000 vehicles a day – motorists might want to seek alternate routes,” Blair said.
After an initial cure, usually that same day, traffic will be allowed back on the treated lane, Blair said. However, motorists should remember they won’t be on 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.
Once that initial chip seal layer is complete, the roadway must cure under traffic for two to three days.
“Again, please follow posted speed limits and drive with caution,” Blair said.
Finally, contractors will apply a very thin blacktop layer over the chips to create the final driving surface.
Work will continue into the week of Aug. 27, on the first section of the AA Highway. Work on the second section, between the U.S. 62 and U.S. 68-Clyde Barbour Parkway intersections, will follow.
Officials urge motorists to heed all warning signs, leave space between vehicles for adequate braking or maneuvering, and remain aware of workers and construction equipment at all times.
Since cape seal work is very weather dependent, Blair said, rain could delay the start of each construction phase as well as its duration. Message boards will be used to communicate schedule changes.
H.G. Mays Corporation is the contractor of the project after submitting bids totaling $420,817 and $383,463 for each section of the AA Highway.
“Cape seal and chip seal techniques, while used extensively across the United States, are relatively new to Kentucky,” Blair said. “They are designed to extend the life of blacktop pavement while also making efficient use of tax dollars.”
Such preventive maintenance treatments slow pavement deterioration, correct minor surface distress, and last up to 60 percent as long as traditional asphalt resurfacing projects for 30 percent the cost – in other words, a quick and cost-effective way to keep roads safer, longer.