‘Concrete Man’ weighs in on M-6 problems

M-6, MDOT, highway repair
Michigan Department of Transportation crews working on a stretch of M-6 on Tuesday, April 26, 2016.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — M-6 is a convenient way to cross Kent and Ottawa counties, but the condition of some sections will also give your commute a jolt.

“As you can see here, it will wake you up in the morning,” said Andy Johnston, Vice President of Government and Corporate Affairs for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, as he pointed to a picture of trouble spot on M-6.

But “Concrete Man” is on the case.

Concrete Man is actually Dr. Peter Taylor, an Iowa State University engineering professor who studies why concrete roads deteriorate. He’s also the director of the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center.

The chamber of commerce brought in Taylor to take a look at the 12-year-old highway.

“(To) see what can be done about it. And also to make sure, frankly, that our taxpayer dollars were spent well,” explained Johnston.

According to Concrete Man, Michigan’s rough road problems aren’t unique. Taylor and a team of researchers say several other states have experienced the same problems.

He blames a harsher environmental conditions and more aggressive melting techniques for part of the joint problem. Taylor says traffic is also allowed on the roadway much sooner than in the past, giving fresh pavement less time to cure.

But that only answers the why.

“What do we do with that?” asked Taylor, pointing to the picture of M-6.

Taylor drove the highway earlier this week and says 5 miles of the 30-mile stretch is in bad a shape.

Experts say while it looks and feels bad, it’s not dangerous.

“It’s not that deep pot hole that’s going to cause damage,” added Jerry Byrne, maintenance director for the Kent County Road Commission.

Taylor says there may be ways to keep it from getting worse.

“We do believe that the idea of putting down some sort of penetrating sealant to keep the water out of the concrete would be a good thing,” he explained.

Taylor and his group are also working on new national specifications for road builders to prevent similar problems in future roads.

Comments are closed.