Hwy. 1 repaving test is deemed a success

Cyclists say new surface is better but still have some concerns

The CambrianOctober 9, 2013 

Large-sized paving aggregate that has been used on a stretch of Highway 1 north of Cambria.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

A repaving test on a short stretch of northbound Highway 1 — just north of the intersection with Moonstone Beach Drive — has been deemed a success and is a harbinger of things to come on about 25 miles of the scenic highway from Cambria to the Monterey County line, according to Tim Gubbins, director of Caltrans District 5.

A complete resurfacing of the highway’s especially rough surface is to “begin in the next few weeks and take a few weeks to complete, weather permitting,” according to the agency’s news release Tuesday, Oct. 8.

CalPortland of Santa Maria applied the sand-seal test Monday to about 100 yards of the previously bumpy surface, which had been chip-sealed last year with larger-than-usual aggregate rocks, producing a rough ride for cyclists and bombardment with loose rocks for all traffic.

The firm also is to do the complete $1.5 million Caltrans resurfacing project.

People are to be notified regularly about the progress of the project on the federally designated All-American Road, especially if lane closures are needed.

Members of Cambria’s Slabtown Rollers Cycling Club took a spin on the newly redone surface Tuesday.

Tom Parsons said he and Bill Cook had just ridden across the area, and Parsons deemed it “much better than the area not treated.”

However, Cook still had some reservations after riding with Parsons and walking the area later in the day.

“I’m unsure what to think. It doesn’t seem as smooth as test sections on Highway 198” in July.

He was interested in what a Plan B might be.

Jim Rogers said, “I noticed a difference, particularly when I rolled off the test section and onto the old chip seal. However, I don’t believe the job filled in around the rocks as well as I expected.”

Rogers wondered how much of the sand was going to stay put.

“There is still a great deal of loose, dry sand on the shoulder, and that definitely cushions the ride. Once the sand is gone, what will be left? We should ask to have the sand swept clear” so riders can “properly test” the new surface.

Tom Kennedy, who has ridden that stretch twice a week for more than eight years, said the sand sealing “is an improvement, no bones about it.” But “it’s definitely not as nice as it was before the chip seal. Large rocks still protrude above the surface, and no amount of bicycle traffic will smooth them out.” He suggested that, “a small amount of additional sand and asphalt emulsion would do the trick. Just 3⁄32 of an inch more would take the bumpiness out.”

Sand sealing, a sprayed application of asphalt emulsion followed by a covering of clean sand or fine aggregate, got the thumbs-up from Caltrans, UC Davis pavement researchers and cyclists who took a test ride in July on variously treated segments of Highway 198.

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