A Winnipeg funeral home director believes he’s found a permanent way to fill up Winnipeg’s potholes.
In a showcase atmosphere with a banner, a podium and speaker system Friday afternoon, mayoral hopeful Mike Vogiatzakis unveiled an option for solving the growing pothole problem on Winnipeg streets.
PelletPatch, a hot-mix asphalt patching compound that contains rubber from recycled tires, was used by the company’s New Jersey-based director of sales Saverio Marra to patch a pothole in the approach to the Thunderbird Restaurant on McPhillips Street.
"It’s very durable and the rubber gives it elasticity which allows it to expand and contract," he said, noting it is being used in locations in New Jersey, Michigan, Florida, California, North Carolina and in the cities of Chicago, Cincinnati and Las Vegas. In Canada, he said it is being used in Newfoundland.
After dumping several pails of mix into his "Patch Master" machine, which heated it to 350 F, Marra shovelled the patch compound into the pothole and packed it with a roller. A semi-trailer truck on standby rolled up and drove over it multiple times within minutes of its application.
"Because it’s going in hot, it’s going to bind," he said. "We’ve done a lot of potholes on I-75, which comes right up here to the North. Those potholes are still patched from last year. It cures fast so you don’t have long wait times."
The City of Winnipeg currently uses a cold-mix patching material during the late winter and early spring to fill potholes. The cold mix, which can be stored outside all winter, is heated indoors overnight before being trucked to city streets and shovelled by hand.
The temporary patches can last as little as an hour or as long as an entire season, depending on the traffic volume on the street in question.
Winnipeg spends an average of $1.5 million on pothole-patching every year. In 2013, when spring didn't arrive until late April, the city spent $2.5 million on temporary patches.