By Tim Cox
Celina's most recent street construction project and its next major job both feature a product called Tensar that is used to prevent the collapse of the underlying road base.
City officials say the plastic mesh material helps the road base maintain its integrity and reduces the likelihood of future potholes and and problems with the asphalt surface. The mesh, made by Tensar, was part of the reconstruction of the downtown portion of Ash Street and is scheduled to be included on the upcoming $1.2 million reconstruction of Touvelle Street between Main Street and Fairground Road.
Both projects were largely funded by Ohio Department of Transportation federal grants and other grant sources.
Celina consultant Kent Bryan said city officials had to lobby hard to get ODOT officials to agree to the addition to the Ash Street project. After it was installed, state officials were so pleased with the work, they allowed the product to be part of the Touvelle Street project without questioning the issue, Bryan said.
The plastic is laid down in between the soil base and the stone base. When unseen weak spots in the soil eventually collapse, the mesh layer helps prevent that effect from rippling through the upper layers of stone and pavement, Bryan said. "It's a stabilizing grid," Bryan explained to city council members this week. "Those soft spots in the underlying dirt eventually cause potholes."
Adding Tensar to the Touvelle Street project will cost $71,788 based on the contract for the entire project awarded this week to Tumbusch Construction, St. Henry. ODOT and Ohio Public Works Commission grant money will cover the entire expense of the Tensar.
With grant funding picking up the entire bill, using Tensar was a no-brainer on the Touvelle Street project, Bryan said. City officials likely would not use the product on less-traveled side streets because of the additional expense, he said. Side streets typically do not qualify for large amounts of grant money.
"The Tensar becomes a difficult question for side streets," Bryan said.
In addition to the complete reconstruction of the street, the Touvelle Street project also includes $250,000 of underground water and sewer improvements, a wider intersection at Summit Street and Fairground Road, new traffic signals and new curbs, gutters and sidewalks along the six-block stretch.