Some Ashtabula County residents have concerns over highway repaving project

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ASHTABULA COUNTY, Ohio--  Some people in Ashtabula County are upset over an ODOT project to resurface the heavily-traveled State Route 7.

A paving contractor from Pennsylvania is being paid in Ohio tax dollars to repave a stretch of the highway in Pierpont Township.

The paving process, known as chip seal, begins with a layer of liquid asphalt, then crushed stone is laid down and packed into the asphalt with rollers.

A business owner on Route 7, who says the project has created a dusty mess, posted a video to Facebook. Trevor Vines runs a motorcycle training school and says he finds the paving method an insult to hard-working taxpayers in Pierpoint.

"As a business owner and a taxpayer, I just think there's better ways. A fellow I talked to yesterday said they've been doing it for 50 years, and I know we've got better ways than that in 2016," Vines said. "I just couldn't believe that they would do that to State Route 7; I've been here for over a dozen years and I've never seen anything like that done to a surface that was as good as what they had," he continued.

Critics of the project wonder how long the pavement will stand up to the wear and tear of traffic and how long it will be before it has to be replaced.

ODOT points out that the paving process is not yet completed and they're asking residents to wait for the final product before passing judgement. An ODOT spokesperson acknowledges that they're using chip sealing because it is cheaper, but maintains the process provides a more durable surface.

ODOT spokesman Brent Kovacs said, "The thing with chip sealing is that it costs a third of a traditional resurfacing project, and it also extends the life of a road five to seven, so by doing a cheaper project, we're keeping roads in better condition for a longer period of time."

Vines and other residents worry the new surface is slick and unsafe for certain vehicles.