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ITHACA, N.Y. — Traffic will be slow in the West End this week while crews work to repave the stretch of West MLK Jr./State Street between Floral Avenue and Taughannock Boulevard following an asphalt error.

The road, which was resurfaced last year as part of major corridor enhancement project, needs to be milled and paved again because the asphalt used in the top course is missing a “friction aggregate” meant to provide extra grip on the road surface. According to city engineer Tim Logue, the error is a costly one but the city will not foot the bill.

Logue said it appears the asphalt plant that supplied material for the project did not deliver the compound they promised. The discrepancy was discovered by engineers consulting on the project and confirmed with multiple tests of the road materials.

The aggregate is not strictly essential; many of Ithaca’s roads do not contain it, according to Logue. However, since the Route 79 repair project was funded with Federal-Aid highway money it was designed to meet New York State specifications that require the aggregate. Moreover, the city paid for the premium material.

The original bid for the road surface was about $58,000, Logue said, so he estimated milling and paving correctly will cost the asphalt company somewhere in the ballpark of $50-60,000.

Work will get underway Tuesday, June 4 and is due to finish by Friday, June 7. Drivers should expect lane closures and delays during construction.

Devon Magliozzi

Devon Magliozzi is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at dmagliozzi@ithacavoice.com or 607-391-0328.