NORTH ROYALTON – The roads program is winding down and was expected to finish up by the end of the week, but there is a lingering issue with Abbey Road aprons that city officials said won’t likely have a permanent solution until spring.

The 2015 roads program – Goodman and Hawley drives, and Akins and Abbey roads – is complete, for the most part. Crews from Karvo Paving, the contractor, were moving down a list of end-of-project contract items like catch basin adjustments, aprons, berming, striping, sidewalk ramps and site restoration.

The goal was to wrap up the overall program completely sometime this past week, City Engineer Mark Schmitzer said.

Looking at the finished product, most say they are happy with the end result.

“Akins seems like it came out pretty nice. I haven’t been down the other ones yet since they were completed. It’s obviously nice to see that we are wrapping up the road program even though it’s a little later in the year. This means four more streets have been taken care of,” Council President Larry Antoskiewicz, vice chair of the streets committee, said.

“I am especially glad that the portion of Abbey between Albion and Sprague (roads) was able to be completed this year. Also, getting Bennett Road done this year by the county was another notable accomplishment for the year,” Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw added.

As for Abbey, though officials are glad to see it in a much improved state especially after a lengthy delay, they are disappointed there is a persistent issue with some of the residents’ aprons.

Essentially, the roadway is significantly higher than some driveways, creating steep angles for residents to maneuver.

The original plan for Abbey was to mill off 3 inches of asphalt, then go up to 12 inches below this to pulverize the asphalt pavement while injecting cement to repurpose the asphalt. Then, crews were to reapply 3 inches of asphalt on top. A substance known as slag threw a wrench in plans though.

It was known to exist under the roadway, but crews did not realize it was as thick as it actually was until asphalt was removed, which led to the need for a redesign. Slag is a hardened matter, no longer used on roadways in the city, that is a byproduct of industrial smelting. Slag is very sturdy but can be difficult to rehab, so the goal was to avoid disturbing it.

So instead of removing 3 inches of road, crews planned to take off 2 inches and go down 9 inches into the pavement, instead of 12, when pulverizing and mixing with cement.

What ended up happening was the pavement, mainly on the eastern side of the roadway, ended up higher than anticipated after the first course, creating the steep drop off into some of the residents’ driveways.

The mayor, city engineer and contractor sat down to work on a solution. The contractor went back and milled down some of those areas to lessen the unevenness, some before the final course was applied, but some of the driveways are still too high.

“We still have a lot of driveways that are higher than they should be, maybe a third of them, and we’re going to work on it and address it, but it probably won’t happen until the spring,” Ward 1 Councilman John Nickell, a member of streets, said. “I have received calls on this, wondering how we are going to do this. The engineer, the mayor and the contractor are working to come up with the permanent solution.”

Mayor Bob Stefanik assured it will be taken care of.

“I spoke to the owner personally, and he assured us that the work that wasn’t completed, they would be back in spring to address those outstanding issues,” he said.

Overall, Nickell said that roadway is a vast improvement.

“The upside is that it is very nice compared to what it was. It was just terrible before,” he said.

Goodman took longer than expected too due to a disagreement between the city and the contractor that led Karvo to cease work between Sept. 26 and mid-October. Schmitzer contacted Karvo and the issue was ultimately resolved. The contractor believed work pertaining to procedure and limits of full depth repairs overstepped the scope of the contract’s original specifications. Schmitzer clarified the scope, Karvo concurred and the project resumed.

“The quality of the product is great, but speaking for myself, I’m disappointed at how long it took and the gaps in between. Residents were not happy, understandably so, when a week would pass and no work was done. But again, on the upside, it is very nice and smooth. All these roads desperately needed to be done, and I’m glad we were able to budget more and get more done for residents,” Nickell said.

Langshaw said the road program timetable does warrant some review next year to try and avoid work being done so late in the season.

“Looking to the 2016 roads program, I do believe some further review needs to be done in the timeframe we do our program to get it done sooner,” he said.

Stefanik has said the roads program gets a late start anyway compared to other cities because Royalton waits until after May income tax receipts are collected to better gauge finances before spending. So any unforeseen issues only add further delay.

“Once you spend money, you can’t unspend it. We don’t know how much we have to spend until we track income taxes into May. Doing that gives us an accurate benchmark, because we do want to spend as much as we can on roads and infrastructure,” Stefanik said.

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