By IVY HERRON
On Monday, a race against Mother Nature began, as Wabash Valley Asphalt began repairing various sections of the parking lot at the Clay County Justice Center before resealing the whole parking lot and painting new lines.
The Clay County Board of Commissioners, Clay County Building Corporation and Wabash Valley Asphalt have tussled over how to correct the unsightly parking lot problem since spring. (At one point, the Commissioners withheld $10,000, a fraction of the total cost of the repairs, from Wabash Valley Asphalt.)
Commissioners, contractors and subcontractors agree that temperature affected the final product -- the asphalt sat too long in 40-degree weather before it was applied in late October 2005. (Asphalt, which is delivered at temperatures between 120 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit, hardens and becomes difficult to seal unless kept very hot.)
In August, an agreement was reached for a partial re-surfacing and complete re-sealing of the parking lot with Wabash Valley Asphalt providing a 10-year warranty on the work.
But now, with fall temperatures beginning to drop, the project will need to proceed quickly before the original problem -- cool weather -- happens again.
Although a cold front is expected to lower temperatures and create a chance for rain as it passes through the area Wednesday, local weather forecasters are predicting temperatures will be at or slightly above normal during the upcoming week.
That is good news for Clay County Commissioner Charlie Brown, who estimates the project will take about a week to complete.