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Pothole Repair: An Inexact Science

Different Methods of Pothole Repair

There are essentially two different pothole repair methods that can be used, although sometimes people can get confused about these different types and why they are used.

Once a pothole occurs, it needs to be patched. Patching basically means that the pothole has to be filled in. While this is the only repair option that can fix a pothole, there are a couple different types of patching that can be used—cold patch asphalt repairs and hot mix asphalt repairs—and each has its own benefits.

Cold Patch vs. Hot Mix Asphalt Repair

These two different types of patching each have their own benefits. With cold patch asphalt repair, potholes are quickly filled in with already-mixed asphalt. Many private property owners and municipalities simply use already-mixed asphalt and pour it into a pothole or wide crack and pack the asphalt in as tightly as possible with a tool called a tamper. This method requires very little work and is a simple process. This type of repair is also less costly in the short term, but as we all know too well, that pothole becomes a crater before you know it.

Why even use Cold Patches?

When choosing between cold mix and hot mix, it seems like the obvious choice would be to go with the more effective, more cost-efficient hot mix. Why would Brookhaven use a cold patch mix if it’s just going to break down again?

The truth is that Brookhaven should be using hot mix to effectively repair your potholes at the onset. However, cold patches are usually used as a temporary fix until the Town can have the pothole repaired properly given that we have 3,650 lane miles of road. Hot mix repairs are a much bigger process and take time to perform, especially on busy roadways.

The real problem is that my opponent has failed to properly catalog repair work orders, which leads to a cold patch repairs rarely being followed up with a hot mix repair, which leads to the cold patch breaking down. It's why you have those omnipresent potholes that you go over every morning driving to work. This failed process makes that small pothole, turn into a crater, and then a sinkhole. Obviously, an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

The constant weather temperature fluctuations over the past few winters has allowed water to seep deeper and deeper into the road sediment, which then freezes, making the structural integrity under that pothole collapse when the temporary cold patch isn't replaced with a hot mix patch. It's part of the reason why you see more and more sinkholes popping up along the island.

If the voters elect me on November 5th, one of my first priorities is what I call my "Worst to First" Initiative which will be a proper cataloging system for road repairs, street sign replacement, road resurfacing, and streetlamp replacement to ensure repairs are done right the first time.

The road to a Better Brookhaven is supporting Anthony R. Portesy for Brookhaven Highway Superintendent. Together, we will build a Better, Brighter, Brookhaven.


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