Some things just can’t wait. Like sinkholes.

By Michael Vargo, senior technical consultant

We at Prime Resins talk a lot about being solutions-oriented, about our consultative approach, about superior 24/7 technical support. But what does that really mean? I’ll show you exactly what we mean.

About 10 p.m. Tuesday I got a call on my cell from Scott at Applied Polymerics, one of our customers in North Carolina. They were doing a job in southern Virginia on I-81 southbound just above Bristol, Tenn. Let’s keep in mind that this weekend there is a NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway. That means up to 160,000 people flooding the area, many from points north traveling down I-81.

A section of concrete in the highway had a four-foot diameter area “punch out” in the right travel lane that settled, so the DOT called in Applied Polymerics to investigate and repair. The initial idea was to stabilize the road base and repair the punch out, but after a bit of investigation, the true situation became clear.

The workers removed the damaged pavement and discovered a void. Before all was said and done, a sinkhole that averaged seven feet deep and 10 feet wide had been exposed.

Wow. Kudos to the Virginia DOT for jumping on a seemingly minor problem that could have turned into a disaster.

Two- to three-foot layers of gravel injected with our Prime Flex 985 LX10 polyurethane foam were used to fill the void. All told, 18 tons of gravel and 70 gallons of 985 were used. Then 290 gallons of Prime Flex 910 polyurethane foam was injected around the perimeter of the void to densify the surrounding soil.

Scott called that night to find out whether the cured foam could take the 325-degree heat of the hot patch that was to be applied on top. We discussed the situation, and I advised that they apply a six- or seven-inch layer of gravel crush and run on top of the foam before applying the hot patch, which they did. The crews worked throughout the night and had the lane re-opened by mid-morning.

While the nature of the sinkhole was unusual, that type of consultation is not unusual for us. That is what we mean by a consultative approach and superior 24/7 technical support. My colleagues and I pride ourselves on providing the best support and consultation in the business. We understand that our success is our customers’ success, so we are there for them when needed.

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