“Hot-Patching” Pothole-Littered Streets Begins

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (April 21, 2014) — Monday is the first day that Grand Rapids City crews are patching the critical streets using hot asphalt.

This is not a full resurfacing but patch-work, Grand Rapids Public Services Director James Hurt said. Hot asphalt patches will last two to five years, versus the temporary cold patch that can last one day to several weeks.

Crews have already put in 2,600 hours in road repair since March. Now they’re pouring 350-degree asphalt onto pothole littered streets.

Hurt said the city spends about $10,000 to $12,000 every day for personnel, asphalt, and equipment.

“We did have a pretty severe winter,” said Hurt. “As far as salt costs, plowing and overtime, we did exceed some of those budgets.” This year, the city received an additional $836,000 from the state of Michigan to cover winter maintenance overages.

With 600 miles of roads and complaints, the smartphone app called “GRCity 311” helps the city prioritize which roads to patch firs. Hurt said it’s working “very well.” The app is free and works for Android and iPhones. Users can first click “new report,” then “pothole,” then take a picture and post it with a location and description for the city. So far, there are more than 6,300 citizen reports.

“We’ve looked at the number of complaints, we’ve looked at the speed of the road, we’ve looked at the condition of the road, the claims that we may have received. Then we’ve identified those and prioritized those.”

While the crews have their work cut out for them, the road crews are “ready, willing and able,” Hurt said. He urges the public to look out for their ‘Road crews at work signs” and slow down. “Anybody working in the street, that’s a danger every single day, and safety is very important. Please be mindful of them and watch out for the road signs.”

Another major issue is the top layer of streets, called lamination, has come off making a series of shallow holes on one street. Officials said hot-patching will also repair this.

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