March 6, 2014 at 6:55 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ - This winter has been particularly hard on Livingston’s roadways. In fact, nearly every street in town now has potholes of some degree. While the DPW can’t repave every street in town, it will continue helping with potholes.
Potholes occur when snow and ice melt as part of the seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. The resulting water then seeps beneath the pavement through cracks caused by the wear and tear of traffic. As the temperatures cool to freezing at night, the water becomes ice and expands below the pavement, forcing the pavement to rise. As the weight of traffic continues to pound on this raised section—and the temperatures once again rise above freezing—a shallow divot occurs under the surface and the pavement breaks, forming a pothole. A pothole is typically fixed by cleaning out the loose debris and filling it with hot and cold asphalt patch.
In the past, Township crews would fill potholes with cold patch. Cold asphalt has been helpful because it can be used in very cold temperatures. Unfortunately, it can’t be worked completely into the pothole, so it tends to crumble and very soon, the pothole is open again. The Township’s Asphalt Hot Patcher helps avoid that problem.
According to the Township, the Township’s Asphalt Hot Patcher provides the ability for the DPW to fill potholes with hot asphalt. Using it, potholes can be patched in any weather— cold or warm—as long as the pothole itself is dry. The hot asphalt can be worked into potholes to create a bond with the road surface. That bond means the patch will stay in the pothole instead of crumbling out.
Hot patch doesn’t crumble and deteriorate at the same speed as cold patch. In addition, cars can drive over hot patch immediately—once the patch truck has left, the road is open. And, because the hot patches last longer than the old cold patches, the Township said it saves time and gas.
Using the Hot Asphalt Patcher also saves the town money on patching materials in two ways: 1) The patch stays in the pothole longer so it doesn’t need replacing as often; and 2) It can be reloaded with reclaimed asphalt pieces, which reheat and soften overnight and can then be reused. Otherwise, the Township said it would have to pay to dispose of those materials.
For more information or to report potholes on local Livingston Township roads, residents should go to www.livingstonnj.org and select “Submit a Service Request” on the home page. There, residents can provide relevant information and choose to be updated on the status of their request. Most patches are completed within 24 hours of being reported, dependent on weather.
To report potholes on county roads, residents are asked to visit the Essex County website at http://ecdpw.org/online_service_request.php or call 973-239-3366 Ext. 2220. To report potholes on NJ State roads, residents should visit the New Jersey Department of Transportation website at http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/potholeform.shtm.