The Lovell Main Street project was put on ice for the winter last week when project officials decided the recent cold weather was here to stay and work would have to resume next spring.
Wyoming Dept. of Transportation Resident Engineer Ben Steed said the decision was made at last week’s public meeting, which was delayed a day to Wednesday due to the Veterans Day holiday on Tuesday, then finalized on Thursday. Traffic control on Main was removed during Friday morning’s snowstorm.
Speaking at Monday’s Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce general membership meeting, Steed said WyDOT and general contractor Reiman Construction made the decision last week to not remove and re-pour any more cracked concrete street panels until temperatures warm in the spring. A program to replace panels that had cracked, likely due to the street grinding process, had begun the week before, with traffic control diverting drivers to the two northernmost lanes while concrete was poured on the two southern lanes.
Pouring of the panels on the south lanes of Main from the east end to Kansas was completed before the cold snap except for some minor patching work to fix some corners and nicks. Though the patching compound, HD50, needs temperatures above freezing to work, Steed said torches were used to warm the concrete last Thursday, and the process was finished.
Steed said a little more than half (12 of 23) of the panels were repaired before the cold weather hit, and work on panel replacement and patching will resume in the spring on the two northern lanes from the east end to Kansas, as well as the rest of Main Street from Kansas to the west end.
If the weather warms enough in the next week or two and the snow melts off of Main, WyDOT does intend to come in with a silicone machine to winterize the joints where the grinding process removed the sealing, Steed said. Winterizing is needed so water doesn’t get into the joints during the winter, he said. WyDOT will then put in permanent seals in the spring.
Steed said the grinding machine will not be brought back for the repaired/re-poured panels. Rather, the panels will be “tined in” to match the grinding pattern using a hand tool similar to a rake.
He said there will be no detour when the work resumes in the spring, although there will need to be some traffic control.
Steed added that Wilson Brothers Construction will continue final work to backfill topsoil behind the new sections of sidewalk on Main, a process that will take just a couple of days.
He also announced that there will be no further public meetings with work finished for the winter.
WyDOT Public Relations Specialist Cody Beers spoke to business owners and managers attending Monday’s Chamber meeting about the use of deicers this winter. Beers said WyDOT is asking businesses and residents on Main Street, and anyone within one block of Main, to not use any deicing chemicals on their sidewalks this winter, either salt or chemical.
With the new concrete that has been poured, Beers said, deicers cause the smooth top surface of the concrete to pull off and expose the rocks underneath. He said salt and deicers cause rapid freeze/thaw cycles, which will damage new concrete.
Beers handed out a brochure about how deicers affect concrete, and Lovell Councilman Brian Dickson said the Town of Lovell will also include the brochures in an upcoming water bill mailing.
Beers said WyDOT “tried some things” regarding public outreach on the Lovell Main Street Project through newspaper and radio advertising, newspaper articles and Facebook. He said the project Facebook page “didn’t take off” and ended up with only 29 “likes” probably because the information was so readily available in the Lovell Chronicle.
Beers offered a “tip of the hat” to Councilman Brian Dickson and the Town of Lovell for their attention to detail during the project.
“They’ve been great to work with, and Brian has been down there every day,” Beers said. “He’s done an outstanding job on behalf of the town on the project.”
By David Peck