More Than 200,000 Potholes Await Repair in NJ [AUDIO/VIDEO]
Drivers in the Garden State cruising along the highways will be seeing the Department of Transportation "Pothole Killer" truck filling in craters, but are we making any headway of preventing our roads from breaking down after each winter?
The fleet of automated trucks can repair a pothole in a matter of minutes with only one person operating the vehicle.
Richard Shaw, Assistant Commissioner for Operations at the New Jersey Department of Transportation says the "Pothole Killer" will join crews to fill between 200,000 pot holes before the end of the year. Around 95,000 have already been filled.
Some years, the DOT can see up to 300,000 craters in the roads, a cost that has to be taken on regardless of the financial situation in the state.
"Potholes and snow, they don't care what your budget is," Shaw points out.
The DOT budgets a base amount each year for clean ups and pot hole repairs and go to Trenton to request more money if they exceed that.
While weather is a factor in the formation of potholes, Shaw notes the volume of traffic plays a major part as well. With the commuter population in the state the highways take a beating, but the DOT Assistant Commissioner notes semi's do the most damage.
"Years ago, I read a statistic that said one loaded 18-wheel tractor trailer passing over a road one time is the equivalent of 125,000 cars."
High-Use Roadways Take a Beating
He adds it shows, because the roads like the Turnpike take a heavier beating than the Parkway.
While most drivers wish potholes would not trouble them, Shaw says it's not possible, since it would require every road being repaved every 10 years.
"So there's a level where you say, what's the breaking point paving condition, paving it, and accepting a certain number of pot holes."
The trick is getting the most from pavement over its life-cycle, he says.
"As that curve starts to drop down you want to do some preventative maintenance to bring it back up to the point where you have to pave it."
The "Pothole Killer," known as spray injection patching, creates a fix that can last for up to five years.
While it may seem like pot holes are getting worse, in fact, the opposite is true. Shaw says the state's roads that rate in "acceptable" condition have improved by six percent and the department has made a larger effort to repair pot holes.
"They haven't gone down tremendously but in perspective if you're gaining six percent and you're patching eight or ten fewer pot holes, that's a good number I think."
Video by Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media