Rain breaks down “Cool Pavement” coating in Phoenix neighborhood

The streets are part of the “Cool Pavement” pilot program, which adds a thin grey coating as a solution for the heat.
Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 8:14 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 5, 2022 at 3:14 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The rain was a problem for one Phoenix neighborhood near 15th Avenue and McDowell Road over the weekend. While it didn’t flood roads, the rain broke down and chipped the pavement. The streets are part of the “Cool Pavement” pilot program, which adds a thin grey coating as a solution for the heat.

But because of the heavy rain Saturday and Sunday, the coating became a nightmare for some neighbors. “I haven’t even been on the street. I’m not looking forward to going on there with my car,” said David Wadsworth.

Neighbors say the city installed the “Cool Pavement” over the summer. “I think it didn’t work and they re-did it sometime last week,” said Derek Flint. But the paint began to crumble and chip away when the rain began to fall. “You could start to see some of the paint come off and it was running through the gutters,” Flint said.

“When the rain first came, and the oils and everything were on there, it was a disaster. We cleaned it off of there, but literally it just shoots up, so it’s on the tires, it’s on your feet, in the drive,” said Peter Deise.

Hudson Deise, Peter’s son, says he slipped at one point. “I was riding this scooter and I hit the brake trying to slow down and the road was so slippery, I fishtailed and it just shot me forward,” he said.

Now that the city has been to the neighborhood twice, those who live there hope this can be fixed. “This could be the third round. We appreciated the effort to do some heat mitigation here but it just hasn’t worked out,” said Wadsworth.

In a statement obtained by Arizona’s Family, the City’s Street Transportation Department said it’s working to resolve the problem. During the summer of 2022, the department applied the seal coat but it did not adhere to the road. In the fall, a contractor recoated the area with a different sealant. According to the department, a mix of the two seals and heavy rains over the first week of December, the coat started peeling.

The City of Phoenix sent out a cleanup with street sweepers and is working to create a solution. The coating is made of water, asphalt, polymers, and other fillers that are bonded. Of the 73 miles in 17 neighborhoods that were treated, the City claims this is the only area in which the coating created an issue. The City offered Arizona’s Family the following statement:

Thank you for bringing this promptly for our attention. This is very unfortunate. We were hoping that the 2nd application would bring resolution the the issues we had with the 1st application in your neighborhood.

Please know that the material is non-toxic. And the City did not pay for the 2nd installation as the contractor was working to rectify the issues with the 1st application.

Rest assured we will get this taken care of and without additional cost to the City. I will have my staff investigate tomorrow and begin working up a plan to correct it.

I apologize for the inconvenience to you and your neighbors.

City of Phoenix Spokesperson