Kevin Gravois of Professional Engineering Consultants, Baton Rouge, presented a time line showing Barriere as the low bidder at $1.29 million and completing the work Dec. 27, 2011. More than 20 streets were overlaid or patched.
The problem with clay balls in the asphalt paving material became apparent in January and SES became involved in February.
The cost of the SES study will come from the contractor’s retainer fee.
The engineers inspected all the roads in the project. Mike McGowan and Don Meyn of SES, and Tim Hart of PEC discovered multiple clay balls on Chamberlain and Tristan avenues.
SES selected 19 random areas to collect core samples for testing. The asphalt job mix formula met specification requirements with the exception of the clay balls, which are common but not to the extent found here.
The SES report states the number of clay balls is “very high and is not normal.” They are a result of the mixing process at the batch plant.
To correct the situation, Barriere has changed its source of sand and is applying an epoxy sealant to clay ball holes. Barriere also agreed to extend the warranty to three years from acceptance. Semiannual inspections will be conducted.
Any premature failure by deterioration caused by clay balls will become evident during the warranty period, according to Julie McCulloch, Baker public works director.
Barriere Construction has been in business for 60 years and this problem is “a black eye for us,” Barriere division manager Jim Breland said.
Mayor Harold Rideau pointed out that Barriere did not try to shirk its responsibility in correcting the problem.