ALDOT crews work to find what caused portions of Interstate 65 to crumble
Testing is underway on Interstate 65 in Birmingham. A stretch near the I-22 corridor started falling apart Friday after crews laid asphalt. Engineers want to ensure more of the interstate isn't crumbling.
Engineers are inspecting pieces of the asphalt. Workers are doing a second round of tests. Results from the first one didn't show any problems. Engineers are confused.
"It's not common at all. You don't put asphalt down, put traffic on it two hours later and have it come up," said ALDOT Supervisor Brian Davis.
Davis has only scratched the surface of the issue.
"It does not happen. When it happens, particularly after two hours, you know you have a major problem on your hands," added Davis.
Drivers had a problem underneath their vehicle's wheels on Friday.
"The asphalt put down, even some weeks earlier, just started raveling out," added Davis.
Many of them started experiencing a bumpy and shaky ride around sunrise Friday. Davis stopped all, but one lane of traffic after getting two hours of calls.
"At the rate it was coming up, within two hours, I could not gamble it would still being intact enough so that someone could get through there in a safe manner by the end of the day.," added Davis.
ALDOT workers started doing tests once traffic stopped.
"You take that core sample back to the lab, break it down and re-test the asphalt," added Davis.
Results came back quick, but a reason for the break down didn't.
"The quality of the aggregate was proper. The dust ratio on the aggregate was proper. The asphalt content was proper," added Davis.
Crews are re-testing and putting down more asphalt, this time, using polymer.
"Polymer is an additive that tends to kind of glue that mix together and we're watching it," added Davis.
Davis is still calculating the cost of repairing the affected areas of I-65. He has a long way to go, but says the cost is the least of his worries. Davis' focus Friday was keeping people safe.