By Brian Yogodzinski
In the past week additional pavement work has occurred at the valve covers on the Alafaya Trail widening project. The reason for this additional work is unknown. Possibly this is rework. The quality of this work is not as sufficient as previous work at the valve covers.
When installing the additional pavement the pavement mix appears to have been either too cold, not correct for the application, improperly applied, or a mixture of these. The result was a significant amount of loose aggregate left on the road surface. This loose aggregate was mostly in the form or small pebbles. These small pebbles pose a hazard to vehicles. For cars, the hazard is the potential chips to vehicle windshields and paint from the loose pebbles. For motorcycles the issue is the more severe as there is potential loss of traction when passing over or attempting to stop on the pebbles.
The County was contacted to notify them of the issue on June 7th. The recent rains have appeared to clear most of the loose aggregate but there are areas where the condition persists. Ultimately the expectation would be that contractors should be cleaning up after themselves. They should not be leaving items in the roadway that present a hazard to the public. This does bring in to question the process used to select contactors. Is cost the only consideration? Is prior work evaluated in selecting contractors?
This article started with valve covers, which was the best way to identify the affected areas. Drivers on the road may comment as to “What valve covers, do you mean the missing ones?” Many of these valve covers are missing. The current count of missing covers is 9. For most cars the missing valve covers do not pose a safety issue but repeated driving over the openings of the missing covers works harder on a vehicles suspension. Over time this can lead to alignment issues which then results in the need for realignment to obtain proper tire life. Vehicles with smaller diameter and narrower tires can experience potential immediate damage to tires and rims. These would be vehicles like Smart cars and scooters. The tire patch for these vehicles is much smaller than a traditional vehicle. The tires are more prone to traveling deeper in to the openings. This can result in potential tire and rim damage. Given the significant number of missing valve covers, drivers should be aware of the potential issues they could face and should avoid the openings created by missing covers.
Brian Yogodzinski is a Mechanical Engineer from North Carolina State University with 25 years of experience, primarily in the power generation business. During that time he became a specialist in the area of Transportation Engineering for the movement of over-dimensional and over-weight components such as power plant generators, combustion turbines, and steam turbines, with typical components ranging from 110,000 pounds to 1,000,000 pounds. He has extensive experience working with state and local authorities to ensure regulation compliances and safe transit of these commodities in the public domain. He currently works for a firm that builds equipment for and constructs power plants.