Road Sealant Used in Maine May Be Causing Car Accidents
Maine's Department of Transportation has halted the use of a sealant used on several paved stretches of road due to its potential contribution to accidents on Route 225 in Norway, according to the Press Herald.
The section of road sealed back in June has seen multiple crashes in recent months all during wet conditions. Coupled with other complaints pouring in from all over the country, experts are investigating whether ingredients in the sealant mixture could have created slick road conditions.
To be safe, Maine DOT ceased sealing operations immediately after the spray's ingredients came under suspicion, the newspaper stated.
“We’re trying to figure this out and thought it was prudent to tap the brakes,” Paul Merrill, spokesman for the department told the Press Herald. “Out of an abundance of caution, it’s a statewide pause.”
Sealed roads have been likened to black ice conditions, making roads hazardous and impossible to predict in wet weather.
Belgrade resident Tom Streznewski was among the drivers affected, according to the Portland Press Herald, and the back end of his pickup truck lost traction, tossing the vehicle off the road and leaving Streznewski crouched in the cab, staring at a branch that had stabbed through the back window and through the driver's headrest.
“The state policeman who responded said usually they don’t talk to the drivers in crashes like this because they’re dead,” Streznewski said in the newspaper.
While use of the sealant has been halted, Maine DOT ground of some of the layer applied to the questionable stretch of Route 225, as Streznewski pointed out that the road looked slick even when it hadn't rained, according to the Press Herald. Run-off of the sealant could be seen on the edge of the road. If the sealant itself proves safe in small amounts, the problem could have come from its heavy application, the newspaper stated..