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Public Demands Road Builders Guarantee Work, MI Poll Shows

Tue May 21, 2002 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide


As news reports indicate growingconcern about the quality of Michigan highways, a survey of Michigan votersshows that 71 percent say contractors should be required to provide performance warranties on major road construction projects that would require road builders to fix premature road failures at their own expense.

The survey of 600 Michigan voters, conducted by Marketing Resource Group,

Inc. for the Michigan Asphalt Paving Association (MAPA), also found 65 percent

of voters back use of new "perpetual pavements" that have been developed by

the asphalt industry to provide long road life and fast, overnight repairs.

The survey also found a majority of voters want the Michigan Department of

Transportation to develop a policy to reduce noise pollution caused by

pavement-tire noise in urban areas.

"Michigan voters know that business as usual isn’t going to make the

difference we need in building better roads," said Reaburn King, executive

vice president of MAPA. "The results of this survey clearly shows that to do

more road work with fewer resources, Michigan Department of Transportation is

moving in the right direction in demanding more responsibility from

contractors while allowing them increased control and more innovation in

developing solutions to road construction issues."

The survey asked the following questions:

1. As you may know, the Michigan Department of Transportation would like

to require road contractors to provide performance warranties on all road

construction projects. These warranties would require road contractors to

come back and repair premature road failures at their own costs. The State

believes that requiring contractors to guarantee their work will encourage

them to build smoother roads that last longer.

Some contractors say that such a mandated performance warranty is unfair,

because road builders don’t have complete control over all factors that might

cause a road to fail, such as design and weather. What do you think?

A. Do you think the state should require performances warranties on roads

so that road builders fix premature road failures at their own expense,

Or ...

B. Do you think performance warranties are unfair because it would require

road builders to fix problems they didn’t cause?

A, Require Performance Warranties..............71%

B, Performance Warranties are unfair...........14%

Don’t know/Undecided...........................14%

Refused.........................................1%

2. The asphalt industry has developed a new product it calls "perpetual

pavement" for new highway construction. It involves putting down several

different layers of asphalt, with the top layer specially formulated to be

durable, yet easy and fast to repair. Perpetual pavement can last up to 20

years before it needs a new top layer, and allows road builders to replace

that top layer at night, leaving the highway open on days and weekends during

repairs.

The asphalt industry would like to use perpetual pavement to reconstruct

major highways. The concrete industry says that using perpetual pavement for

major highways would be risky, and we should stay with concrete, which has

long been used for major road building in Michigan, even though it means every

20 years we have to completely rebuild the road. What do you think? Should

we try perpetual pavement, or stick with concrete?

Perpetual pavement.................................65%

Concrete...........................................15%

Neither.............................................2%

Don’t know.........................................18%

Refused.............................................1%

3. Many people who live near major highways complain about road noise.

Studies show certain pavement types can be quieter than others, helping reduce

noise for neighbors of major roads. Presently, the Michigan Department of

Transportation does not consider pavement noise when deciding which materials

to use when building a road.

What do you think? Should the Michigan Department of Transportation

consider the impact of noise and its impact on neighbors when deciding which

pavement to use when building a highway?

Yes................................................59%

No.................................................35%

Don’t know..........................................5%

Refused.............................................1%

MAPA has supported the Michigan Department of Transportation in its

efforts to bring performance warranties to major road projects in Michigan.

Several states have already instituted performance warranties, including

neighboring Wisconsin, which now reports pavements covered by warranties are

smoother and have fewer defects.

MAPA also backed MDOT-supported legislation that allowed demonstration

projects by both concrete and asphalt industries aimed at bringing innovative

techniques, such as perpetual pavement, to state roads.

The Michigan Transportation Commission and MDOT are currently considering

a sound policy aimed at reducing noise pollution in urban areas. Research has

consistently shown that certain types of asphalt can be effective in reducing

noise pollution. This research has resulted in Great Britain developing a

policy of covering all highways with an asphalt cap in the next decade to

reduce noise pollution.

The statewide survey of Michigan voters was conducted May 6-9, and has a

margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent.




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