COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
A dog struts past potholes at 16th Street and McTavish Avenue this week.
Brandon’s new pothole filling machine will most likely save the city money, according to the director of public works.
"We’ve been using it for almost three months now and have worked out the kinks," Ian Broome said. "If you weigh in that we probably won’t have to go back to refill holes as often, that could save quite a lot."
Taking recycled asphalt and shingles from the landfill, the asphalt reclaimer mixes them together with asphalt mix at a temperature over 350 F to create new asphalt.
Done on site, it can take less than 20 minutes from putting the materials into the machine to filling the pothole.
"From what I’ve seen so far, it seems like the holes should be permanently fixed," Broome said. "We haven’t gone back to check them all, but the ones we have are holding up really well."
Not having to use winter mix is one of the primary benefits to using the asphalt reclaimer. Winter mix usually acts as a temporary fix for the holes during the season when it’s warm during the day and freezing at night — when most road damage is done.
Usually having to wait for the asphalt mixing factory to open in May and finish the work before it closes in October, the city can now use the reclaimer on site during those months to put hot mix into the hole.
"This should divert callbacks. After the snow melts completely, we usually have to go fill the hole again with hot mix because that winter mix doesn’t last," Broome said. "We’ll have to wait until next spring to know for sure, but I don’t expect to see as many problems as this year."
Anywhere from two to six people work on a pothole crew at a time, and Broome said with less callbacks, those people would be able to focus on completing larger projects.
Using recycled materials has the added bonus of extending the landfill’s life expectancy, he added.
"Anything you divert from the landfill is good and beneficial to the land," he said. "It was supposed to close in 2042, but it’s estimated now that it will close in 2048."
It will take at least a year of using the machine to compare the costs to previous years, but Broome said he expects there will be at least a few thousand dollars saved in labour and material costs.
In June, the Brandon Sun reported that there had been 25 pothole complaints in one week. Now two months later, a lot of the potholes have been filled, and Victoria Avenue — voted Manitoba’s worst road in a CAA survey earlier this year — is being fully paved by the provincial government over the next two weeks.
After a pothole complaint, the city’s target is to have the hole filled within five days and meets that target an estimated 90 per cent of the time.
City officials did not have official numbers of complaints for the summer, but said there are less at the end of the season. The focus for potholes is usually in the spring, while full road repairs take precedence over the summer.
Potholes can be reported by calling 204-729-2200 or online at brandon.ca.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 22, 2013