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Roads paved in freezing temps safe for public, Smithtown tests show

The street view of the pavement on South

The street view of the pavement on South Hillside Avenue, in St. James, on Thursday, June 4, 2015. Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

Results from asphalt testing on four roads in Smithtown and St. James allegedly paved in freezing temperatures in November show they are safe for residents and should not deteriorate prematurely, Smithtown officials said Thursday.

A June 1 report from Babylon-based engineering consultant Greenman-Pedersen Inc. -- hired by Smithtown for nearly $10,000 to test and analyze asphalt paving completed by Medford-based Suffolk Asphalt Corp. -- concluded the roads should last their normal eight- to 12-year service span, based on pavement core test findings and visual inspections.

"It was important that we did a test of the roads to ensure the public that their taxes were not spent poorly, and it's good news that the roads will last their estimated lifetime," Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said in an interview Thursday.

Since officials are satisfied with the results, the town does not plan to test four additional roads paved the same day, Vecchio said.

Greenman-Pedersen subcontracted with MT Group of Farmingdale, a materials testing and inspection firm, which last month extracted a dozen 6-inch asphalt samples from Fourth Avenue, Seventh Avenue and Basswood Lane in Smithtown and from South Hillside Avenue in St. James, town engineer Mark Riley said.

There were "no visible signs of pavement deterioration, premature failure or poor quality of workmanship," according to the report, obtained by Newsday. Testing also included analyzing the variation in size of stone and sand in the asphalt, amount of liquid asphalt in the asphalt mix and density of asphalt compaction, Riley said.

The optimal road density should be about 95 percent of calculated values unique to the mix placed on a particular roadway, the report showed. Smithtown roads showed rates that ranged from 84.1 percent to 95.4 percent, averaging 88 percent.

"The lower compaction figures could be attributed to the fact that we use a different type of asphalt mix for our town roads than the state does," Riley said, adding that 95 percent is typically the required asphalt mix on state roads.

Proper road density is based partly on the time available for the asphalt to compact, which Riley has said is greatly decreased in cold weather. Temperatures listed on paving documents for the four roads ranged from 30 to 40 degrees, but state Department of Transportation standards require temperatures to be at least 45 degrees for paving, he said.

The roads were allegedly paved at the direction of embattled Smithtown Highway Superintendent Glenn Jorgensen, who faces a charge of grand larceny in addition to three other felonies and a misdemeanor, related to allegations by the Suffolk County district attorney's office that he submitted false temperature records for Suffolk Asphalt. Last month, the contractor sued the town in a separate action for about $1.8 million, alleging nonpayment.

"The test findings are what I expected them to show," Suffolk Asphalt's attorney, Hauppauge-based Stephen G. Pinks, said Thursday. "The roads were of acceptable quality and the town should make payment for the work that was done."

Smithtown Town Attorney Matthew Jakubowski declined to comment on how the test results would impact Suffolk Asphalt's case, which includes work completed over nearly 11 weeks in 2013 and 2014.

Jorgensen's criminal defense attorney, Hauppauge-based Anthony La Pinta, was not immediately available for comment Thursday.


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