By Gerhard Schneibel

Sandy Springs’ ambitious Pave On project, which has accounted for 60 miles of new pavement throughout the city in less than three years, has hit a minor snag because of the breakneck pace.

Potholes have formed in sections of 11 miles of pavement done during the second phase of the 2009 capital year paving, which started in mid-October. Roads paved during that time include Mount Vernon Highway, Heards Ferry Road, Trowbridge Road, Mystic Drive, Windsor Parkway and Trimble Road.

Field services manager Ron Adderly said the city was trying to finish off a “very large contract” before moving to a new one in the spring. Of the 15,973 tons of asphalt spread over the 11 miles, 17 tons were affected, he said.

“The contractor has corrective work to do as part of the project, and they’ve been very cooperative in getting that done. And it’s all weather-permitting,” he said.

Steve Stella of Kennesaw-based Butch Thompson Enterprises said the contractor “certainly would stand by our work. That’s part of our reputation.”

It was Butch Thompson’s first contract with the city of Sandy Springs.

Low temperatures at night and humidity from recent rain caused the potholes, Stella said. “If you don’t get all the moisture out of there, that asphalt topping won’t bond real well.”

Sandy Springs utility coordinator Andrew Thompson said the paving work was done at night to minimize traffic impact and had to be planned weeks in advance.

“Sometimes you’ll have a night which drops below the recommended temperature,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for a large project like this.”

When crews are paving, an on-site inspector monitors the temperature, he said.

Public Works Director Angelia Parham said once the 11-mile project is complete, it will be under warranty for 12 months. Butch Thompson Enterprises will fix the potholes before the project is complete and the warranty period starts, she said.

“We did the repair work as quickly as weather permitted,” she said. “It’s an extremely small percentage we’re having an issue with. We’re already repairing it, and, yes, it is under warranty.”

In some instances, roads were milled — stripped of the upper layer of pavement — and left that way until the weather was good for paving. Thompson said a road can be left in that condition for some time before its foundation is at risk of being damaged. “You typically have several layers of asphalt before the base.”

Parham said: “There’s a protective surface there. It’s not like all of the asphalt is gone.”