In the News

Posted on March 22, 2023

This article was originally published by Jodi Schwan of SiouxFalls.Business

Here’s the hard, hole and cracked-filled truth about a winter like we’ve just experienced: Someday soon, the parking lot and other pavement around your business could remind you how harsh the past few months have been.

“We’re anticipating heavy demand come April and May,” said Ryan Kerkvliet, vice president of Black-Top Paving, a division of Journey Group.

“When you see what’s happened to the city streets, there’s good potential a number of businesses are going to find their parking lots are damaged. So we’re encouraging them to reach out soon.”

That’s what Kathy Thorson did last year. The senior vice president of Central Bank knew it was time to address the bank’s parking lot on Western Avenue.

“We put it in in 2005, and every spring it would need patching,” she said. “So we decided it was important to make the investment and do a quality parking lot and go with concrete over asphalt.”

She reached out to Black-Top Paving “because I know the team and the quality of work they do,” she said. “And they were very accommodating. They did the work in three phases to accommodate our clients and our staff.”

The team would work early mornings or late evenings to ensure minimal disruption, she added.

“And they were just very courteous, even opening doors for people coming into our building,” Thorson said. “They checked in weekly on how it was going. It sounds like I’m making this up, but they really were that good. They’re even coming back in the spring to fix a few little things, and they volunteered to do that without us asking.”

Central Bank will use Black-Top Paving again, she said.

“Our other parking lots were concrete to begin with and have held up better, but when we need work, we will use them,” she said. “Their attention to detail was outstanding, and we were very satisfied.”

Black-Top Paving is preparing for a big year, starting off with major public projects such as the new intersection at 85th Street and Cliff Avenue and a large overlay along Cliff from 12th to 26th streets.

But much of its work is in smaller projects like the bank’s parking lot – from asphalt maintenance and concrete repairs to complete replacements.

“With all this snow, we just haven’t been able to look at parking lots the way we typically do this time of year,” Kerkvliet said. “And yet we assume once the snow melts, businesses are going to be shocked at what’s happened to their parking lot. We are seeing more damage this winter due to all the moisture and freeze-thaw cycles.”

The message: Call now to get your evaluation scheduled.

“Whether you have cracks and potholes that need to be filled or you’re looking at investing in a replacement, we want you to get on the schedule so we can come evaluate your property and give you options as soon as the weather allows,” Kerkvliet said.

“That way, we can align your budget with the best repair option and get our crews out to do the work early in the season so you don’t have trip hazards and your lot looks better for your customers and employees.”

Even if you think you’ve been spared the worst of winter’s damage, Kerkvliet cautions it can get worse in the spring.

“When we have spring snow events and there’s heavy equipment clearing it, we sometimes see worse damage because the frost may be out of the ground and the subgrade can be wet and soft,” he said. “I hate to say it, but even if you don’t think you’ve had much damage, over the next month there likely could be more if we keep getting snow events.”

Black-Top Paving also has expanded in recent years as a full-service operation offering both concrete and asphalt, making it easier for owners to work with one contractor.

“We can encompass the whole project, and the feedback on that has been great,” Kerkvliet said. “We’re working with strip malls, banks, churches, any number of private parking lots in addition to our public work and residential developments.”

An ongoing commitment to maintenance is key, he added.

“If you have imperfections or cracks that allow moisture to get in – and this year was especially bad for that – that moisture expands when it freezes, which can break up the asphalt or concrete surface. But if you’ve done preventative maintenance, you’re not allowing moisture into cracks or water isn’t sitting on your lot, it can really extend the life of the surfacing.”

Even if you haven’t invested in ongoing maintenance previously, “it’s never too late to start,” Kerkvliet said. “If we have another winter like this, but you’ve started to get on top of it, it will help. We’ve been fortunate not to have very tough winters, so in many cases surfacing has held up well, but this winter has been a different story. We’re ready to help businesses recover.”

To learn more about Black-Top Paving, visit their website!

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