You asked: When will they repave Route 32?

Published 9:44 pm Saturday, October 5, 2013

You asked: “When are they going to resurface Route 32 from Three Black Cats to the North Carolina line? Several folks have commented last week that they could not believe they were repainting lines on it when it is in such bad need of resurfacing. Can’t imagine trying to make it through another winter with this one, considering the amount of traffic it carries.” — E.H., Suffolk

The answer to this question starts with the city contracting a Maryland company to assess the wear of all local roads in late 2011, according to L.J. Hansen, assistant director with the Suffolk Department of Public Works.

“Utilizing specialized equipment that can detect wheel travel, surface and subsurface pavement cracking and a number of other factors, they traveled the roads of Suffolk and collected data on them,” Hansen said in an email.

Email newsletter signup

The data was used to assign each segment of road with a “pavement condition index,” which Hansen said helps the city prioritize road maintenance projects.

“For the section of Route 32 that you identified, there are several segments of roadway, extending over nine miles in length and with varying indexes,” he said.

“The lowest indexed segments indicate that maintenance is, or will be, necessary soon. At this point, we believe that work will be performed on some of these segments of Route 32 beginning in the summer of 2015.”

But that timeframe is tentative, Hansen said, and the city does not have a “comprehensive scope or plan” for the work right now. This will be generated in the months ahead as other projects are completed, he said, adding that the work will probably be contracted out through the city’s annual services contract.

Hansen said the recent repainting of lines was routine maintenance. “Roadway markings can, and do, deteriorate under normal traffic conditions as a result of tires, grit and weather impacts,” he said.

“It is essential that those markings be clear, especially on roadways such as Route 32 that experience heavy traffic and have somewhat limited visibility in darkness and weather events.”

It would have been unsafe not to repaint the lines before the road is resurfaced, according to Hansen.

“You Asked” is a new feature in the Suffolk News-Herald, and we want you to submit ideas for it. Ask a question about something you’ve always wanted to know, and we will track down the answer. Submit your ideas to with “You Asked” in the subject line.