Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

A section of Interstate 65 South manufactured with an advanced-type of asphalt in 2014 is already deteriorating and will cost the state $877,000 to repair, a News4 I-Team investigation found.

A News4 photojournalist noticed how the stretch of interstate after the Millersville exit appears to be crumbling but didn’t look like potholes.

TDOT confirmed that the stretch of interstate should have lasted 12 years but instead will need repaving this week, just five years after it was initially paved.

That section of the interstate is made up of OGFC asphalt, which is designed to allow rainwater to drain through, as opposed to letting rainwater pool on top, all to avoid accidents like hydroplaning.

Asphalt that allows for water to drain through instead of ponding

Asphalt that allows for water to drain through instead of ponding

Mark Woods, TDOT pavement engineer, said the problem isn’t with the asphalt itself, but that the contractor didn’t mix it properly and poured it when it was too cold.

“The contractor awarded the work didn't follow the best practices when placing it,” Woods said.

A spokeswoman for TDOT said because the project concluded in late 2014, the state is unable to go back to the contractor to seek retribution.

Woods added that the crew that handled that particular stretch of I-65 disbanded after the project.

A News4 I-team investigation found the I-65 stretch isn’t the first usage of OGFC asphalt that had to be repaved.

Interstate 75 in McMinn County, between mile marker 39 and a bridge at State Route 30, also had a 9-mile long stretch of interstate with OGFC asphalt that required repairs.

Woods said in both cases, the problem was with contractors learning the new asphalt.

“There's a learning curve to pavement,” Woods said.

Because the mistakes were caught earlier and in smaller locations on I-75, Woods said the cost was lower, potentially around $100,000.

As for the cost for the I-65 stretch, TDOT spokeswoman BJ Doughty said because the state’s $4.9 million snow and ice budget has barely been touched this year, they are hoping that they can use some of that assigned money to offset the costs.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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