Hot or cold solution to pothole problem

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There’s good and bad news in the pothole wars.

The good news: the weather is finally warm enough to allow crews to fix those gaping holes. The bad news: the streets are going to get worse before they get better.

While out with Grand Rapids city workers, we saw one crater on Lafayette Ave that took 24 shovel-fulls of goo to fill the pothole.

“You can’t be 500 places at once. You gotta stick on one road and try to complete it,” city worker Floyd Callender said.

But we’re told the goo being used today is supposed to work better than the goo they used in winter. “A day like today, if the area is dry and it’s a deeper area, it’s definitely wiser to use the hot mix,” Jeff Kresnak of Superior Asphalt said.

Hot patch is supposed to last longer…depending on weather conditions.

Hot patch is recycled material; asphalt left over from other projects mixed with wax beads and heated up to about 350 degrees.

The president of Superior Asphalt says he’s expecting a banner year for potholes and for his company.

“It’s going to be a mess. I’d say we’ve seen only 10% of it. This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Kresnak said.

For most of the winter, road crews have been using what’s called ‘cold patch’: asphalt with a polymer that never hardens, material that is used in water.

“It plies and it moves with the ground and the traffic,” Kresnak said.

We talked with the head of the Kent County Road Commission who said they’re still using the cold patch because many areas are still too wet for using hot patch.

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