Sandy Springs’ side streets where the experimental “hot-in-place recycling” road paving project failed.

Sandy Springs officials experimented with a new road-paving method in order to save money, but ended up spending $121,000 more than they planned after the innovative paving process backfired.

City officials said the roads would be repaved this month.

In November, city leaders announced plans to pave 17 small streets using a “hot-in-place recycling” process. The process melts the asphalt, stir it and smooth it back over the roads.

At the time, it was believed it would save the city 20 percent on its paving, and Sandy Springs City Council awarded a $417,000 contract to Illinois-based Gallagher Asphalt. The total amount budgeted for paving the 17 roads was $500,000.

But by April, it was clear the paving job wasn’t going as planned. The city had spent $278,219 before it pulled the plug on the experimental paving.

In May, City Council awarded a second $342,755 paving contract to Baldwin Paving Co., sending the project $120,974 over budget. The repaving started in June.

Sandy Springs City Councilman Gabriel Sterling said he first noted problems with the process when he saw trucks paving in his area. He said the paving machines were too long for the smaller streets the city was paving.

City Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny said the machines also generated a tremendous amount of heat, which scorched residents’ yards.

“You had folks on Tanglewood Trail, in the center of their cul-de-sac, they planted plant material that was just killed,” she said. “It wasn’t suited for our type of road system.”

Sterling said the council was trying to think outside the box.

“We were trying to be innovative,” Sterling said. “It just didn’t work.”

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com