Recycled pothole patches pitched to city council
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As the snow melts and roads once again get bumpy, a local business is pitching a new way to fill Winnipeg’s potholes.
Terry Mitchell and daughter Raye-Leigh Martin co-own Arch Tree Farm and Landscaping, a company that uses recycled asphalt to fill in driveways. Recycled asphalt is made from crushing slabs reclaimed from roads and parking areas — and the pair say it’s a cost-effective, feasible solution to the city’s ever-present pothole problem.
“We want to offer value to the city. Potholes have always been a problem. Last year, they were, I think, the worst we’ve ever had,” Martin said Thursday.
“And we were starting to talk about it back then, because our product is cheaper. It is a better value for Winnipeg. So we’re hoping that (civic officials) bite on that even just for value.”
The business owners pitched the idea during a city council meeting Thursday, through a motion brought forward by Coun. Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan) and seconded by Coun. Matt Allard (St. Boniface).
Council watched a video the pair had prepared of the recycled asphalt process, which consists of packing roughly five centimetres of recycled material into the pothole, which is then topped with two centimetres of recycled material of a different consistency and levelled with the road. After vehicles and bikes drive over the road, over time, it hardens similar to regular patches.
Their argument is using asphalt recycled from other projects is more environmentally efficient and cheaper than the current pothole-filling process, which uses a cold-mix asphalt compound in the short term and a longer-term hot asphalt patch, usually applied when the weather is drier.
It would, ideally, replace the short-term cold-mix compound and act as a stronger base, they said.
“This is meant to last until they can put some hot asphalt over-top, but they would have to use less, (it’s) a base for the pothole, other than just filling it,” Mitchell said.
“Because when they use the cold mix, it was just all over the road within hours. It was out of the holes.”
Mitchell estimated the cost of the hot and cold asphalt mixes to be around $90 a tonne, while recycled asphalt costs around $36/t.
The motion calls for the city to invest in a pilot project, which would send out street staff to use recycled asphalt on potholes on different days to test its workability.
It was referred Thursday to the public works committee, which will debate it in April.
The City of Winnipeg said it is currently in the middle of repairing potholes using cold-mix compound, which is used until the weather gets warmer in May.
While crews don’t use recycled asphalt now, city communications officer Ken Allen said, it’s something street maintenance is considering.
“This spring, we are trialing a recycled asphalt pothole repair product and will be measuring its effectiveness,” he said in an email. “We would be open to trialing other products, if the opportunity presents itself.”
Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.