Rogers Co. Pothole Patcher May Give Longer-Term Fix
By Craig Day, The News On 6
ROGERS COUNTY -- Forget snow, potholes are in the forecast. There's nearly a 100% chance you'll see one no matter where you drive.
Shovel crews are out, but is there a better way to fill the craters than tossing in shovel after shovel of asphalt?
With countless potholes on Oklahoma roads jolting drivers and jarring nerves, pothole patrols are out in force. Scoop after scoop, road after road, mile after mile.
But often, the fix doesn't last.
"We've put them in at seven at night, and they've popped right back out by the next morning because of freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw," said Marty Stewart of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
There is a machine, however, that is an alternative to the "shovel, shovel" strategy.
It's a pothole patching machine.
"Actually the road around it will develop new potholes before the patch deteriorates," said Rogers County Commissioner Kirt Thacker.
Using air power, the patcher blows out a mixture of rock chips and oil, filling potholes. A few cars later, the mix is packed down.
"After it hardens, it seals it up and makes a good, durable patch," Thacker said.
Rogers County Commissioner Kirt Thacker says the machine means faster response to pothole complaints. It's more efficient and road repairs last longer.
"They stay filled where an asphalt patch pops out," he said.
Plus it is safer compared to shoveling alongside cars and trucks.
But will it work on pock marked highways? ODOT says a contractor tried it years ago, without much success. ODOT says there is just too much traffic moving too fast on highways, and the necessary lane closures to run the machine would cause big traffic flow problems.
But the big problems for drivers in Rogers County, or at least the deep ones, are becoming smooth again.
The machine is working well and making the ride much better.
Another issue might be cost. The two person machine costs about $70,000. But it's expected to save money in the long run, compared to shoveling.
The number to call for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is 918-838-9933 [U.S. and State Highways Only]. Make sure you're as specific on the location as possible, providing things like the direction you're heading, what lane, and the nearest street or landmark.
In the city of Tulsa, you can call 596-2100 or visit the city of Tulsa web site and fill out a special form.