June 28, 2014

Rock Hill using new technique to fill potholes

Rock Hill’s public works department is repairing roads across the city through the use of a new pothole filling process, which is expected to last longer than their previous technique.

Rock Hill’s Public Works Department is filling potholes on city streets using a new and hopefullylonger-lasting process.

Crews cut pavement around a pothole to create squared edges. They then apply a sticky material called “asphalt tack” that helps the asphalt adhere to the edges.

The potholes are then filled with asphalt that is rolled to compress it, creating a smoother surface.

The old process had two steps: filling the hole and rolling the asphalt.

Gary Wright, operations supervisor of public works, said leaving the hole as-is makes for a less stable patch because asphalt does not adhere well to rough edges. Creating squared edges and using asphalt tack will allow for a stronger and longer lasting patch, he said.

While the new process might be more expensive because it involves more steps and labor, Wright said the city will be spending less money long term.

“It probably costs a little more because it’s more labor intensive,” Wright said. “So maybe we don’t get as many potholes taken care of in one day, but in the long run it should help last longer, which is going to save the city money because you spend less time making repairs to the same locations.”

More potholes happened around Rock Hill this year because water from the snow and rain seeped into cracks in the asphalt, breaking it down.

Wright said the department attempts to fix any pothole on a city street within 24 hours of being reported. Potholes should be reported on the city’s website.

The department also has a list of streets that are likely to have potholes because of aging and traffic. The department is recording which streets it has ridden and repaired to prevent canvassing the same areas multiple times.

Rock Hill recently signed an agreement with the S.C. Department of Transportation, to allow the city to repair state roads.

According to AAA, potholes will do $6.4 billion in damages to vehicles in the United States this year.

Wright said city residents “want the best ride that’s possible. We can’t afford to go out and replace all the roads at one time, so we have to do maintenance on them. This is a good step to add some life to the roadways.”

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