Pothole killer not coming to W. MI

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you lived in the city of Cleveland, Ohio, you might come across a large truck known as the pothole killer.

But don’t expect to see any pothole killers in West Michigan. They have already been tested in West Michigan and road officials were not impressed.

“What we noticed is it puts the operator too far from their work and we did not like the quality of patch we were receiving,” said Kent County Road Commission Director of Maintenance Jerry Byrne.

The truck sprays a mixture boasted as a permanent fix into potholes.

The product that they are spraying out, according to Byrne, is 30% water, which has to evaporate from the patch before cars can be allowed to drive over it.

“When we did do it in the winter time, we were sitting on these patches for a hour, two hours, longer; and we still couldn’t get them to care out,” Byrne said

When laying cold patch — which crews in Grand Rapids are using now — crews can fill a pothole in 10 minutes.

Unlike cold patches, which are meant to be temporary, the pothole killer is supposed to be a more permanent fix — but Byrne said that isn’t always the case.

“What we found in the cold temperatures is we couldn’t get that water out of that liquid and get a good solid patch,” he said.

Byrne said the county does have the same technology as the pothole killer. Instead of it being on a truck, however, it is mounted on a trailer, The county has three trailers, but don’t use them until the weather warms up.

“We need warmer weather. We have tried using it at 10 degrees, 20 degrees, 30 degrees. We did not see the success rate that we are used to seeing in the summer time,” Byrne said.

And the success rate when using the spray in summer versus in the winter is dramatic.

“In the summer time, we’re going to see 95% success rate,” Byrne said. “In winter, we were seeing maybe 50% at best.”

A successful patch with the spray can last for several years.

There is also the issue of cost. Byrne said when the county tested the trucks, ordering one would have cost between $200,000 and $250,000.

The trailers, which do the same thing, cost the county roughly $60,000.

The Pennsylvania company that NBC affiliate WKYC says owns the pothole killers being used in Cleveland said on its website that the trucks can be operated by one person. Byrne said that places the person fixing the potholes a long way away from the actual pothole. Kent County’s trailers have two-person crews, which allows the person operating the spray to be just two to three feet from the pothole.

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