Month: September 2018

Houston, We’ve Got a Pothole Problem

The Problem

As any New Yorker knows, pothole season is never really over. We know the primetime for potholes is during the early spring months, due to how they’re made, but potholes plague New York roads all over and all throughout the year. If you’re from Rochester and have ever commuted through Dewey or Lake Ave, you’ll know what we mean.

Potholes are patches of disruption in the road caused by soil beneath the pavement becoming weakened or displaced. In the winter and spring months, ice and running water from the snow and rain unsettles the base layers under the pavement. As the water seeps through the cracks in the pavement, it freezes and expands, then causing the pavement to break. When cars drive over the weakened areas, the pavement begins to erode, chipping away and leaving holes in the road. High traffic areas result in the worst potholes.

Potholes can have serious effects on your car causing significant damage. Some of the most common damage to cars include:

  • Tire Puncture
  • Wheel Rim Damage
  • Premature Wear on Shocks & Struts
  • Suspension Damage
  • Steering System Misalignment
  • Exhaust System Damage
  • Engine Damage.

This could range anywhere between 100 and 1,000 dollars in repairs. What would the auto-repair industry do without potholes?

Solutions – The Typical & the Not So Typical

The most basic way of explaining pothole repair is through the differences of hot and cold patches. When a hot patch repair is done, the surrounding pavement to the pothole is cut and then filled with hot asphalt and compacted. This addresses the underlying issues with potholes and is more likely to prevent another pothole from occurring. Cold patch repairs tend to be less effective. Asphalt is basically packed into the pothole as tight as possible. These do not properly fill or fix potholes, causing it to crack and break from traffic or allow debris or water to enter inside.

The least likely way of getting a pothole repaired is by calling your local Parks and Recreation department and having Ron Swanson show up at your door. Although unlikely, it may be the best option.

However, there are five main methods used to repair potholes which include either hot or cold patch repairs. Throw-and-roll, semi-permanent, spray-injection, edge seal, and full-depth roadway pothole replacement are the main five.

Throw-and-roll pothole repair is one of the most common and the simplest way to fix a pothole. Asphalt material is poured into the hole and then driven over with a heavy vehicle to solidify the mold. Semi-permanent pothole repair is considered one of the best methods used for repairing potholes. First, debris or water is removed from the area and clean cuts are made in the pavement. Then the pothole is filled with asphalt or patch material and compacted.

Bachlor This is Not a Pothole AnymoreAlternatively, have you ever heard of Jim Bachor? This guy has traveled to Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and Detroit (and more) filling potholes in a way never seen before. Having studied art and ancient history in school, Bachor fills potholes by creating mosaics out of them.

Spray-injection pothole repair is done with special equipment. First, debris or water must be removed from the pothole. Then the hole is sprayed and filled with asphalt. The patched area is then covered with a layer of aggregate.

Edge seal pothole repair combines the throw-and-roll technique with additional steps. First the pothole is filled by compacting loose asphalt inside. Then a layer of asphalt material is used to seal the pothole with the existing pavement, and sand is laid to avoid sticking tires.

If there is a pothole or section of road where there are many potholes on the way to your house and Ron Swanson has not already showed up, you could also try calling Dominos. Not only will dinner be served, but with their new promotion, so will the potholes in your neighborhood.

Full-depth roadway repairs fixes potholes by completely removing them and replacing the roadway with entirely new pavement. It is the most efficient way to replace potholes and the most complex, simply because new road is being laid. The old asphalt from the road is pulverized and mixed with cement and water, then compacted as a base to which a new layer of asphalt is then poured and laid.

Not only does Dominos and Jim Bachor profit off of potholes, but Surfwrench itself and auto-repair companies alike are thankful for the annoying potholes all over upstate NY. The pressure your car undergoes from hitting a pothole is enough to make diamonds and worth all the same to your local mechanic.