NewsOperation Safe Roads


Weekend rain creates nightmare for one Phoenix neighborhood

The coating is meant to keep things cooler during Phoenix's extreme heat.
cool pavement peeling
Posted at 8:28 PM, Dec 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-06 00:20:47-05

Heavy rain caused pavement problems in a Phoenix neighborhood near 15th Avenue and McDowell, after a unique street coating meant to battle the extreme summer heat was damaged by the storm.

"The first time they did it, it was great. Why they decided to do a second coat, is beyond me," said Delia Marquez.

Marquez says Saturday, she walked out of her house to coating floating on the road in front of her house.

The coating is meant to keep things cooler during Phoenix's extreme heat.

Delia Marquez and her dad are among the many now complaining about the city's so-called 'cool pavement.'

They say the streets looked soapy over the weekend when it was raining.

"And then when it stopped raining a little bit it started cracking. It started like peeling. It was really weird. It looked really horrible, and it got up under the cars," added Mark.

Delia adds she was eager to let her little ones play in the rain, and jump on puddles over the weekend, but she quickly realized the roads were slippery.

“We actually kind of found out the hard way. Because we went out to kind of look at it and my daughter slipped,” she told ABC15.

The Marquez’s are not the only ones upset with what’s going on.

"With the rain, it's just been tracking up what seems like paint, all up and down our driveway," said Ben Saunders.

Ben Saunders says it's getting worse by the day.

"Now I don't know who should be cleaning that off," Saunders told ABC15.

The City of Phoenix tells ABC15, since the cool pavement program began in 2020, 73 miles across 17 neighborhoods and one parking lot in one city park have been treated.

The goal: lowering surface temperatures.

They say the damage from over the weekend is confined to neighborhood streets in the area between 17th and 15th avenues, and McDowell Road to Encanto.

"Now we're dreading a third time coming through," said Saunders.

The city says in summer 2022, they applied a seal coat treatment in affected areas that didn't stick to the roadway, and it was re-treated in the fall with a different coat product.

Adding that mixture, mixed in with the heavy rainfall, caused the coating to peel off.

"Is it just the top layer? Do they have to do the bottom of it? That means it's going to be more of an inconvenience for the people on the block?," asked Delia.

The city also tells ABC15 the coating material is not toxic and they're working to find a permanent solution to this issue.

As for repairs, it's unclear when those will get underway.

The City of Phoenix issued the following statement:

The Phoenix Street Transportation Department is working to address an issue with the Cool Pavement seal coat that was recently applied to neighborhood streets in the area between 17th and 15th avenues and McDowell Road to Encanto Boulevard. Since the Cool Pavement Program began in 2020, 73 miles in 17 neighborhoods and one parking lot in one city park have been treated. None of those other locations have experienced this issue.

In summer 2022, the department applied a seal coat treatment in this area that failed to properly adhere to the roadway. To fix that issue, in fall 2022, a contactor retreated those streets with a different seal coat product that had been applied with positive results in other citywide locations. The mixture of those two products, and this weekend’s rain event, unfortunately, caused the coating to peel off the roadway. City staff has an initial cleanup underway using street sweepers and is working to find a permanent solution. Communication with the affected residents is underway.

The cool pavement material ins a water-based, non-toxic product. It is not paint. It is an emulsion made of water, asphalt, polymers and filler minerals that are bonded together. Updates will be provided on the Cool Pavement webpage.

ABC15 also asked the Arizona Department of Transportation if any potholes reports came in as a result of the rain.

ADOT tells ABC15 there where two pothole-damage related reports that came in:

1. Eastbound I-10 at milepost 200 (just past the I-8 junction)
2. Westbound I-10 at milepost 171 (near Riggs Road)

The department adds, "the initial assessment is that the state highway system held up well during the weekend rain. We haven't been advised of reports of significant damage...from ADOT's perspective, highway maintenance takes place on a year-round basis. So, crews routinely keep an eye out for locations to maintain throughout the year."