Mystery substance causing problems for one Spring Hill neighborhood

Mystery substance causing problems for one Spring Hill neighborhood

PHOTO: A vehicle driving through the entrance of the Chapman’s Crossing subdivision, its tires coated in the white substance / Photo by Alexander Willis


Residents of the Chapman’s Crossing subdivision are voicing concerns over construction on the main entrance to the community, which they say is leaving behind a white substance, causing vehicles to get stuck, lose traction, or even fishtail when driving.

Chapman’s Crossing is located just off of Duplex Road, next to Interstate 65.

Kathi Stampley is a Franklin resident who routinely visits the Chapman’s Crossing to pick up her grandchildren. She said the construction has been ongoing at the entrance for weeks, and that something from the worksite had led to a white, slippery substance covering the area.

“We kept thinking, ‘well they’re going to come back in fix it,’ and then they piled all this… it was almost like sand,” Stampley said. “When you drove on it, you felt like you were driving through sand.”

Stampley said that beyond temporarily getting stuck herself, she had seen other cars, and even a school bus, struggle to gain traction at the entrance. She said she saw a few vehicles do minor fishtailing. A maintenance worker from WellSpring Church, which is right by the subdivision’s entrance, had even helped three different vehicles get unstuck in a single day.

“It’s like trying to get traction in ice… it’s not going to happen,” Stampley said. “You can feel your tires sliding, it totally feels like your car is sliding.”

The construction is part of the ongoing Duplex Widening project, which will see the road widened to three lanes by April of 2020, with additional amenities. Senior project manager for the project, Missy Stahl, said that the material laid on the entrance was base stone, and that the next step will be to lay asphalt on top of it. However, due to the periodic rainfall in recent weeks, the next step cannot be completed.

The white substance that has overtaken the entrance is likely efflorescence: a powdery deposit of salt removed from certain materials due to excess exposure to water. In this case, the layer of base stone has likely reacted with the frequent rainfall, with moisture extracting the naturally occurring salt from the stones, rising to the surface, and leaving behind the salty deposit.

While the layer of base stone is typically not exposed for very long before the final layer of asphalt is applied, that final step has had to be constantly pushed back, as asphalt cannot be paved in the rain.

“At least they’re working on it,” Stampley said. “So I’m grateful for that, [but] they just should not have left it that way.”

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