Crane digging up asphalt parking lot


MDT’s Farmington Hills Building … A Face Lift for the Parking Lot!!

by Frank Martines, Facilities & Purchasing Technician


After occupying the Farmington Hills building for more than 7 years, MDT’s last renovation project at the headquarters building was to replace the parking lot. And since the Farmington Hills office has been closed since March, offsite parking for employees did not have to be coordinated – a silver lining of the pandemic. This made it a lot easier for the asphalt workers to do their job!

Resurfacing the asphalt was not an option as the parking lot was at least 30 years old and new city building codes require the property owner to bring everything under the asphalt up to current code.

After an inspection/evaluation of the lot, it was determined that MDT also needed to install a whole new drainage system and rebuild 3 of the 5 catch basins (also known as storm drains or storm sewers) — the underground chambers topped with grates. They allow sand, sediment, and other materials to settle out of storm water before it empties into the city’s drainage system. They also help to keep water from pooling on asphalt pavements.

The project began on May 3rd and the first phase of the project was to dig up and remove the existing asphalt and asphalt curbs. On the north side of the building, the base under the asphalt was so bad, workers removed 14” of dirt.  They also found varying thicknesses of the asphalt layer – 8 inches in one area and 2 inches in another! All had to be dug up and removed.

Crane digging up asphalt parking lot

Dirt base of the parking lot - asphalt removed

Dirt base of the parking lot

Dirt base of parking lot


New concrete curbs were then poured.

New concrete curbs in the parking lot

Next, the catch basins were rebuilt and new 6” drain tubes were installed which will help the property drain correctly.  These drainage tubes are perforated and are encased in a silt (filter) sock that sits in pea gravel.

Digging a trench in the parking lot

Digging a trench in the parking lot

New drain tubes before installation

The base for the parking lot was then installed – layers of dirt, gravel and sand.  The final layer is crushed concrete.

Next, the asphalt surface was installed in two layers. The first layer was 2 inches thick and the second layer was 1-1/2 inches thick. The contractor used a type of asphalt that allowed it to completely cure within 2 hours after being poured.

Laying the asphalt for the new parking lot

Large machine laying asphalt for the new parking lot

The day after asphalt was laid, parking spaces were painted and new visitor parking spots were added.

New handicap striping in the parking lot

The very last part of the project was the installation of cement “bollards” (or poles) that designated handicapped parking and visitor parking spots.

Newly painted parking lot spaces

The entire project took about a month due to a few weather delays!  Workers completed the parking lot during the first week in June. The MDT Facilities team (Frank Martines and Doug Wagel) was onsite to supervise the entire process.

With proper maintenance this new lot can last 20-30 years!