By Trena Street
Collierville Public Services workers Justin Wilburn and Jonah Coleman steadily work to make pothole repairs on town streets.
While many of us have smiling faces hoping sunshine will soon reign and we have seen the last of 2014 blustery, icy, weather, it is still top of mind to Collierville Public Services Department as they work on street and road repairs left by wintry elements.
The recent sunshine has allowed time to complete several jobs but there is still much to be done.
“We have patched a total of 1,241 potholes throughout Collierville since January 1, 2014,” Clay Ticer, Crew Supervisor Senior, Streets & Drainage Division said.
“With rainy, very cold weather like we have been having, it’s a challenge to keep up with repairs. Water seeps under the asphalt, freezes and when it expands, it breaks down and makes holes,” he continued.
In previous years, due to the frequent shut downs of local hot mix asphalt plants when temperatures drop below freezing, crews had been limited to the use of cold mix asphalt only.
When applied cold to potholes the cold mix material was often difficult to work with and would not bond as well as heated asphalt material. Often these types of repairs would last an average of six months before the pothole would have to be addressed again for a more permanent repair.
In an effort to improve the quality of repairs and make a more efficient repair the Streets and Drainage Division purchased a new Falcon asphalt heating trailer. This new piece of equipment gives personnel the ability to pick up hot mix asphalt from the asphalt plants during warmer weather and store the material for use at a later time.
In addition the trailer can also be used to heat cold mix material making it more pliable and creating a better bond between the cold mix material and the repair. With the new methods of repair the Division is now able to make longer lasting and better quality repairs.
So far, Public Services have used 19.18 tons of asphalt material for pothole patches throughout the Town of Collierville. Supervisor Ticer, who has trained at the Tennessee Public Works Institute and through the Tennessee Department of Transportation, estimates the time needed to patch potholes may vary depending on the size, but on average most repairs take approximately five minutes per repair. So go ahead, take a minute and calculate the time based on 1,241 potholes …215 in January, 829 in February and 197 so far in March.
The polar vortex made January an unusually cold month in the mid-south that caused many potholes, a depression or hollow in a road surface. According to MWN, memphisweather.net blog, it was the ‘coldest January since the mid- 1980s and 20th coldest in the nearly 140 year recorded history of Memphis.’ On an average, the Memphis area has 50-plus below freezing days a year so we may not be quite through with winter yet.
But, Collierville Public Services is steadily working to keep up with pothole patching and hoping for warmer weather soon.