The concrete on a three-mile stretch of M-6 south of Grand Rapids in Michigan is crumbling just a dozen years after the opening of the $700 million highway. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is planning to tear out the stretch and start if from scratch in 2018 for $10 million.
According to MDOT spokesman John Richards, the pavement should have lasted a decade longer. the project was completed in 2004 and the warranty through Ajax Paving, the concrete contractor for that stretch, expired in 2011.
The blame for the crumbling concrete is on (then) non-perfected synthetic resin:
State transportation officials blamed the failure on a key ingredient in concrete. When it was built, there was a shortage in the natural resin used in highway concrete, the stuff that adds bubbles and helps it withstand big swings in temperatures, Richard said. That’s because more of it was being sold to the cosmetic industry, he said. He said that forced the industry to use synthetic resin, which hadn’t been perfected.