Catching The Thaw – Patching holes…

The uncountable, bone-jarring potholes throughout the county are slowly being repaired by crews with a temporary cold-patch.

Cold-patches are generally used in the winter, as asphalt plants don’t start production until the spring and summer paving season begins.

Wes Hess, maintenance manager for PennDOT in Warren County, noted that IA Construction has an asphalt plant “right here in our backyard,” but it is not producing hot-mix asphalt this early in the year,

City Public Works crews have been filling potholes as the weather allows, but there are so many this year that they can’t keep up, according to Vinnie Massa, assistant superintendent for Public Works.

“By far, in my 17 years on the job, these are the worst street conditions I’ve ever seen,” he said on Thursday.

He added that the cold-patch doesn’t adhere well when the streets are cold and wet, and it frequently comes back out with the next freeze.

“We’ve gone through 22 tons of it so far this year, and we’re on our third tri-axle (truck) load, although if you drive through town you might not think so,” he said.

Jacob Pangborn was on a crew that was patching potholes on Thursday until the rain started, then they moved on to clearing catch basin storm drains. Speaking of the mid-size city dump trucks, he said, “We went through a half-truckload Wednesday just between Market and Liberty (streets) on Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Hess said that PennDOT had repaired most of the bad potholes before the latest round of snow and rain, adding, “The temporary mix just doesn’t hold up with the freeze thaw cycles.

Another major concern for PennDOT is safety for the road crews, he added. “The roads have to be safe enough to work on,” he emphasized.