In other action Monday, the Transportation Commission voted to pay contractor Cornell Construction Co. an additional $44,584 to complete a $229,112 negotiated settlement on a $2.58 million asphalt resurfacing project on U.S. 62/State Highway 6 near Altus.
The company had to redo the asphalt it put down on the first day because the material was too soft, said Darren Saliba, the state Transportation Department’s director of operations.
Saliba told the commissioners that the state was agreeing to pay the money because the problem delayed the project for 13 days and testing revealed that the asphalt materials the company used met all the department’s specifications. The department has since changed the requirements for the liquid asphalt and design to prevent the problem from happening again, officials said.
State transportation officials, who have been awarding asphalt road contracts for decades, said the problem appeared to be caused by a polymer in the oil that was used. Although the polymer met department standards, it became unstable once it met the roadway, said Brenda Perry, a department spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, highway projects continue to be bid and built in Oklahoma, despite the coronavirus, Angier said.
Highway construction has been categorized as essential, both nationally and locally, because it provides the infrastructure necessary to keep trucks and other traffic moving and because it helps the economy, Angier said.
Contractors are encouraged to adhere to social distancing guidelines and other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations as much as possible and do everything necessary for the safety of their employees, she said.
Angier said that so far, she is only aware of one contractor, located in eastern Oklahoma, who has halted projects because of the virus. The contractor had difficulty getting employees to work sites, she said.