Case Study: Hwy. 51 Project

Lehman-Roberts Co., now in the fourth generation of family ownership, continues to build upon a long tradition of quality, trust and strong managerial leadership that sets it apart from competitors in the highway construction industry.


A 5-mile stretch of U.S. 51 from the Panola County line to Warrior Drive in Tate County was in need of serious repairs and patching. The Mississippi Department of Transportation engaged Lehman-Roberts Co. on a general repair and overlay project.


This project included approximately 5 miles of roadway that involved milling 1.5” of existing asphalt, 1” spot leveling and  overlaying with 1.5” surface treatment. Additionally, after excavating portions of the original pavement to repair failed areas and address a few water leaks, 1’ of 19mm patching was used to repair those areas.


Milling in towns often uncovers minor water leaks given that the roadways are older and highly trafficked. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the total population of Panola County and Tate County is roughly 64,000 people. Thus, this aged road saw high levels of wear.

After a contracted partner milled off 1.5” of the surface layer in Senatobia, it became apparent that there were areas in the roadway that were previously patched with a thin layer of asphalt. Areas of gravel and limestone showed through, which was an unanticipated challenge. These lightly patched areas caused problems when traffic was allowed to continue traveling on the roadway for several days prior to beginning the paving process. Thus, the raw material began to ravel out of these areas and create a greater patching need.

In order to provide meaningful support when unforeseen problems arise, project members must use their deep knowledge and collective experiences to make recommendations in real-time.


Simmons Erosion Control and Falcon Contracting were brought onboard to assist with particular stages of the project. Lehman-Roberts Co. performed all aspects of overlaying, while Falcon Contracting led the milling and cleanup phases and Simmons Erosion Control handled the patching process.


Lehman-Roberts Co. completed its portion of the project in early June 2021 after navigating the challenges of coordinating with other municipalities to complete their portion of the project before paving could begin. Despite the unforeseen water leaks and coordinating challenges, this project easily achieved the Category C MRI requirement of a 50 percent smoothness improvement required by the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

The crew and superintendents of Lehman-Roberts Co. played a pivotal role in working alongside the city repair crews brought in to address the newly discovered water leaks by monitoring the weather patterns and rapidly mobilizing a crew to place the asphalt ahead of a sizeable rain event.

Although this project was a standard overlay job, it offers a glimpse into the meticulous attention to detail and professionalism Lehman-Roberts Co. takes with each job.