Central Services director pleased with pothole truck

Pothole truck

Ethan Barnes, left, and Bryan Boden fill a pothole on the corner of Sixth and Hampshire. David Adam

QUINCY — A truck the city has used for two months isn’t filling more potholes than in the past, but it is filling them better than in the past.

The city agreed earlier this year on a three-month lease for a truck from Bergkamp Inc. in Salina, Kan., to fix potholes. Kevin McClean, director of Central Services, says the truck filled 936 holes covering 4,793 square feet and 518 blocks of city streets from July 13 to August 31.

“We probably don’t get more (potholes) done because this takes longer to do. The advantage of doing it this way is we’re cleaning out the loose debris in the pothole,” McClean said. “If the edges of the pothole are thin, this thing has a little jackhammer on it. We can square them up a little better. It also makes those edges a little deeper to where the mix will stay better, because it’s nice and squared off. 

“Instead of backing over (the potholes) with a truck, we run a plate compactor on it. It has a nice, smooth surface. Then we also spray tack that makes it stick to the pavement.”

City spending a little more than $10,000 monthly on lease

McClean said the city spent a little more than $10,000 a month on its lease, plus minimal cost for cleaning materials.

“It’s been working really well,” he said. “We run cold mix through it some days, but we still heat it up to like 125 degrees. That makes it a little bit more user friendly. By spraying the tack, cleaning the potholes out good and squaring them up, even the cold patch will stay longer. It makes a better patch. 

“We use hot patch any time we can. We’ve been pretty lucky this year. With all the resurfacing that they’re doing, we’ve been able to get the hot mix quite often. It definitely works better and stays longer, but it’s more difficult to keep the truck clean with the hot mix. It sets up quicker in the auger, but they they have to make sure that auger is cleaned out. Anything inside the truck is fine, because it’s heated up to 270 degrees inside the truck.”

McClean believes the potholes filled this year will stay filled for a longer time. He also says the road surface shouldn’t be as bumpy.

McClean: ‘These (filled) potholes have definitely worked better and should last longer’

“Doing potholes the old way, some of the might be humped up a little bit,” he said. “So if you did multiple potholes in the same area, next thing you know, it just kind of feels like you’re driving on a really bumpy surface. It’s like it was a bunch of little camel humps.

“If the pothole was a thinner pothole and had loose gravel or dust in it, it wasn’t going to stay (filled) near as long. If it’s wet, you get that water underneath of it and then it doesn’t stick as long. Moisture gets under there and it freezes, and it starts splitting the mix up. The next thing you know, (the mix) just comes out on its own. Most likely, when we plowed it in the wintertime, we would pull a lot of that mix out. 

“These (filled) potholes have definitely worked better and should last longer.”

An aldermen asked at a recent City Council meeting if it would be more cost effective for the city to buy a truck from Bergkamp rather than lease one.

“I know the administration is looking into it to see if that’s something they can do,” McClean said. “We haven’t really had any discussion any further than just the lease for now, but it definitely would help us to not have to go back to the same areas over and over. It would allow us to just keep moving forward and repair the (potholes) we see before they get really bad. 

“I do think it’s a good system. It’s going to take time for us right now, because we have so many. People are being patient. They’re seeing the new truck, and we’ve had some good feedback from it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get something worked out.”

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