Ribbon cut for new Old 27 sandwich seal

September 27, 2018

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

Thursday, September 20th was an important day for the Clare County Road Commission, county officials and especially for travelers through Clare County.

That’s when County officials held a special luncheon to celebrate and cut the ribbon on a six-mile section of Clare Avenue (Old US-27) through Hatton Township where the newly completed “Sandwich Seal” has renovated the road at a cost that is only about 15 percent of the traditional cost to completely rebuild the road.

Since the new process was developed in 2014, the Clare County Road Commission has been involved in a new “Clare Avenue Experimental Project” using the new sandwich seal process to upgrade the old highway through the county.

Repairing the road, which was in extremely poor condition, was a real problem since the cost to rebuild it is estimated at $1.2 million a mile.

Clare County Road Commission Chairman Mike Duggan challenged their engineering department to come up with an out-of-the-box solution “because we simply couldn’t afford $1.2 million per mile to repair Clare Avenue.”

Cutting the ribbon on the newly renovated six-mile stretch of Old US-27 with the large scissors is Clare County Road Commission Chair, Mike Duggan. To his left is Vice-Chair Dick Haynak, and Engineer-Manager, Deepak Gupta. To Mike’s right is foreman Aric McNeilly, Commissioner Tim Haskin, and assistant foreman Dave Bondie. They are  surrounded by many other county officials who attended the ribbon cutting. Photo courtesy of CCRC

Cutting the ribbon on the newly renovated six-mile stretch of Old US-27 with the large scissors is Clare County Road Commission Chair, Mike Duggan. To his left is Vice-Chair Dick Haynak, and Engineer-Manager, Deepak Gupta. To Mike’s right is foreman Aric McNeilly, Commissioner Tim Haskin, and assistant foreman Dave Bondie. They are
surrounded by many other county officials who attended the ribbon cutting.
Photo courtesy of CCRC

He and CCRC Engineer Deepak Gupta and the road commission staff put their heads together and came up with a solution – a sandwich seal – that would reduce the road improvement costs to $180,000 per mile, saving the road commission over $1 million a mile – money that could be available for other needed county road repairs.

The new “Clare Sandwich Seal,” a three-year process, uses approximately ¼ inch of chip seal, which is placed over the four-inch old asphalt overlay, then topped with approximately 2 ¼ inches of new asphalt overlay, which is next covered with about one-quarter inch of a second new chip seal. Each step of the process is usually done in a separate year.

Earlier Gupta said the chip seal process alone waterproofs the asphalt and virtually eliminates potholes.

The sandwich seal, expected to add about 15 years to the life of the roads renovated this way, is a three or four year process, with the new six-mile section of Old US-27 now complete and the rest of the road nearly all the way to Harrison already started with chip seal and some with the second overlay completed. Chip seal has also been put on the road north of Harrison nearly to the Roscommon County line, making the trip on the old highway through the County a pleasure once again.

Duggan said, “This experimental concept not only benefited Clare Avenue, the cost savings allowed us to improve more road miles throughout the entire county, meeting our goal of zero potholes on the primary paved system.”

Hatton Township Supervisor Bill Hilleman said he is extremely pleased with the road improvements. “We now have a road like the one we grew up with,” he said. “We traveled to Clare County on Old 27. The view from the Shull Ranch north back then was a beautiful vista. It was a good road to use then and it is a great road to travel on again – smooth and a nice ride all the way from Harrison to Clare.

Grant Supervisor Dan Dysinger said, “Paved surface preservation is key in stretching road maintenance dollars.  The ‘sandwich seal’ design should clearly demonstrate efficiency and the best use of funding.  This experiment benefits Grant Township directly as well.”

He continued, “We are sold on ‘chip and crack sealing.’ In 2013 we did four or five miles of chip and crack seal.  These roadways are pothole free five years later, and we may get another three or more years of life from the process.  The management and engineering staff at CCRC have been working hard to improve our local road system, and it is paying dividends.”

Jack Kleinhardt, vice chair of the Clare County Commission, said, “I am just absolutely delighted! I travel that road all the time and it is wonderful. I want to complement the contractors and the people, including CCRC Chair Mike Duggan, Engineer-Manager Deepak Gupta and the rest of the road commission, for making this happen.”

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