GRANDVILLE, Mich (WOOD) — A new, more expensive material the Kent County Road Commission used to patch some potholes this winter appears to be working.
In December, 24 Hour News 8 talked to road crews about the patch material called Mastic.
“You cover up a lot of really rough areas, nothing’s permanent,” Jerry Byrne, the director of maintenance for the Kent County Road Commission, told 24 Hour News 8 last year.
Mastic was used at the exit ramp from I-196 in Grandville to 28th street.
When 24 Hour News 8 went back this week, we found the material still very much intact.
“We like it. We’re probably seeing a 95 percent success rate. It costs more money, takes more time but we’re not coming back here. Had we used traditional cold patch or even hot patch last fall we would have been out here three, four times through the course of the winter, spring,” Byrne said. “When I see the 5 percent that’s failing it’s the patch around it that let go because the product itself doesn’t have anything to stick to so obviously it releases and goes in place a pothole.”
Mastic costs a lot more than the black top the road commission uses for cold patches — 62 cents a pound versus 3 cents — and it also takes more people to put it down.
When laying Mastic, the road commission shuts down the road or ramp that they are applying it to. Whereas with cold patch, they can just quickly fill the hole and move on.
“It’s a safety factor for our employees aren’t out there, traffic isn’t having to dodge pothole patching, we’re not having to close it down that many more times. All together we think it is going to be cost-saving, but it also takes a lot more time to put it down so you can’t put it down everywhere,” Byrne said.
Byrne said the road commission has committed to renting and using two of the machines they use for Mastic for this summer’s construction season.
“With these kinds of dollars we need to make sure it lasts more than just one season, it needs to last a couple of years to get that full benefit out of the dollars,” he said.
Byrne also knows when people read this they are going to want to know why the road commission doesn’t just use this material everywhere. The answer, he said, comes down to money and manpower.
“We don’t have the people, what two people put down here it will take nine or 10 people to get the same production done a day. We can’t let the other holes go while we are fixing these for the longer term.”