Dispute between city and contractor pauses roadwork in Sudbury, Ont. | CBC News

Road Surface Recycling Limited, which was hired by Greater Sudbury to complete an asphalt recycling pilot project on three different roads, has left the city following a disagreement with the head of the municipality’s engineering department.

The project is meant to test a technique known as “hot-in-place recycling” which uses existing asphalt to rehabilitate road surfaces to be more sustainable and to save costs.

The company had only completed a small part of the project when city staff paused their work on a stretch of the Kingsway last week to run quality tests. 

It’s a move contractor Frank Cruppi did not see coming. 

“There had already been a lot of due diligence done by Sudbury before the contract was released,” he said. 

Green heavy construction equipment.
The first stretch of road used in the asphalt recycling project is the Kingsway, between the Highway 17 bypass and second avenue. (Orphée Moussongo/Radio-Canada )

He says his company can turn in the quality tests in three to four days, but city staff say it will take four to six weeks to get the results they want. 

With this unforeseen delay, Cruppi decided to leave town to pursue projects elsewhere, and doesn’t intend to come back to finish the work this year. 

“[City staff have] wasted their allotted time in our schedule,” he says, adding that he would be willing to come back next year, on the condition that he no longer has to work with some members of city staff.

Cruppi believes that city council and staff don’t see eye to eye on this recycled asphalt project and that his company is “caught in the crossfire.” 

“City council forced this project onto the engineering department, who never wanted to do it,” he said. 

He alleges that the director of the city’s engineering department, David Shelsted, has ignored his emails for two years.

As for Shelsted, he says quality testing is necessary to “ensure that the work being done is of good value.” 

“The city hasn’t done this [type of project] in its history,” he added. “Test results are needed to come to a conclusion.” 

He says the city will discuss next steps with Road Surface Recycling Limited once test results come through. 

“As long as material quality meets our specifications, it would be our intention to fulfil the contract,” he said. 

Shelsted says that the remaining roads in the project can stay untreated, as none of them are currently in a “state of failure.” 

“We can look at postponing that work,” he said. 

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