Road crews maximizing mild weather to fill potholes

Road crews fill potholes with a new material called Mastic. (Dec. 11, 2015)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Despite a warm December, road crews with the Kent County Road Commission are still busy. But instead of plowing snow, they’re filling potholes.

A road crew was out on a closed ramp in Grandville Thursday filling potholes with a new material called Mastic.

Jerry Byrne, the director of maintenance for the Kent County Road Commission, said it may be a long-term patch solution.

“If you cover up a lot of really rough areas nothing’s permanent no matter what you’re doing,” Byrne said. “You’re covering up black top, you’re covering up broken concrete, it’s not meant to be a permanent patch but it’s gonna be a better, longer term patch.”

This is the first winter the Kent County Road Commission has used the material.

It’s one of the many tasks they’ve been able to do thanks to a nice November and so far dry December.

“It’s huge because that’s 20 extra work days of those months that we would normally probably be plowing snow and dealing with weather-related issues,” Byrne said.

They haven’t spread much salt at all this season. This time last year they’d already spent $800,000.

The big savings on salt so far this year could help area roads next year.

“If you look at 50,000 tons of salt if we could save that and you know, maybe we could put an extra 25,000 tons of black top down, cover a lot of roads,” Byrne said.

For now Byrne said they’ll focus on patching as much as they can while the weather cooperates.

“Every day while the crews aren’t plowing snow the truck employees are still doing the same type of thing days and nights both,” he said.

Byrne said they will check the spots they patched in the spring and see if the new seal holds better than previous materials they’ve used, making a smoother drive.

The pothole filling is coming out of the summer project budget.

Despite the savings so far this winter Byrne said he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself, he wants to see what the winter budget really looks like by mid-April.

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