Maine grinds up a road that looked like 'black ice' after a sealant was applied
A recently paved section of road in Maine is being ground up because a sealant that was supposed to make it last longer looked to some like "black ice" and spurred complaints that it made the pavement more slippery than normal.
Some also blame the glossy coating for recent vehicle crashes, though that part of State Route 225 also has some sharp curves.
"It looks funny, it looks shiny, it looks like black ice," Debbora Henry of Rome told CNN affiliate WGME.
A contractor appears to have put down too much of the sealant, state Department of Transportation spokesman Paul Merrill told CNN, and the state is investigating.
Crews applied the sealant in June on a segment of the state highway in Rome, about a half-hour north of Augusta, Merrill said. The road was repaved last year.
Since June, there have been four crashes on that stretch, Merrill said. In one case, the driver fell asleep, and the others occurred in wet conditions, with speed a factor in at least one of those wrecks.
While DOT officials don't know if the pavement sealant has contributed to any of the crashes, they're not taking any chances while they investigate.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we've stopped using fog sealant on main line roads statewide," Merrill said, using an industry term for the spraying method used to apply the liquid product onto a road. "We're still using fog sealant on shoulders."
Fog sealant is used to fill in cracks and imperfections on a road surface and can preserve the life of the pavement.
The contractor is micro-milling the surface to grind away the top level of pavement on almost three lane miles of road, Merrill said. The process should be completed Wednesday.