December 21, 2014

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Lorain’s new machine more effective than asphalt to fix potholes

Lorain city employee Dan Fleming uses the Dura-Patcher machine to fill a pothole along Oakhill Boulevard in Lorain on Thursday. The hose dispenses stones and an emulsion to help fill and seal the pothole. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Lorain city employee Dan Fleming uses the Dura-Patcher machine to fill a pothole along Oakhill Boulevard in Lorain on Thursday. The hose dispenses stones and an emulsion to help fill and seal the pothole. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

LORAIN — The severe winter made Lorain’s notoriously bumpy roads worse than ever, but the DuraPatcher is smoothing things over.

Dan Fleming, left, uses the Dura-Patcher machine to fill a pothole along Oakhill Boulevard in Lorain on Thursday. As Fleming fills the pothole, Dave Willams and Brent Lloyd brush excess stone and sealer off of the road before using a tamper to pack down the filling.

Dan Fleming, left, uses the Dura-Patcher machine to fill a pothole along Oakhill Boulevard in Lorain on Thursday. As Fleming fills the pothole, Dave Willams and Brent Lloyd brush excess stone and sealer off of the road before using a tamper to pack down the filling.

The machine sprays an emulsion/aggregate mix rather than asphalt, making repairs last longer. The city purchased the DuraPatcher in 2013 for $61,654 along with a 150-gallon emulsion tank for $22,500. The tank keeps the mix heated to up to 120 degrees, said Street Superintendent Lori Garcia.

The DuraPatcher is designed to make repairs last a year or two, far longer than hot asphalt. The DuraPatcher can’t be used in temperatures under 25 degrees or in the rain.

The Street Department traditionally has used hot patch between April 15 and Nov. 15. Cold patch, a quick fix that lasts less time than hot patch, is used between November and April.

Garcia said Lorain began using the Dura-Patcher in August on main roads and secondary streets, with hot patch used on side streets. Garcia said extreme cold made cold patching more ineffective with repairs frequently having to be redone. “This winter beat these roads up,” she said.

Brent Lloyd uses a tamper to compact the filling and create a smooth surface after the DuraPatcher is used.

Brent Lloyd uses a tamper to compact the filling and create a smooth surface after the DuraPatcher is used.

Department worker Dan Fleming said the DuraPatcher is more effective than hot asphalt. He compared using hot asphalt to fill a hole using “Play-Doh,” while the Dura-Patcher is more like glue. “I’m sure people are liking it because it’s more of a permanent fix,” Fleming said Thursday as he filled a pothole with the DuraPatcher on Oak Hill Boulevard near Laura Lane.

Fleming was assisted by Dave Williams and Brent Boyd. After Fleming sprayed a hole, Williams used a rake and broom to smooth it over. Boyd then ran a tamper over the hole.

The 19-member department patches dozens of holes per day citywide. Priority is given to streets with the worst potholes. Hundreds of holes have been filled since April 15.

Garcia said the department is buying a $60,000 smaller truck designed specifically for the DuraPatcher. The purchase will free up the plow truck currently being used for other duties. Garcia said she has requested the City Council purchase a second DuraPatcher, which would allow it to be used on side streets.

Oak Point Boulevard resident Chester Frederick, who moved into his home in 1977, said the street, near Oak Point Road and North Lake Street, has always been bumpy.

“That’s great,” he said after the DuraPatcher filled potholes in front of his home. “I’m happy to see that.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

Pothole Patching

Potholes form when water seeps below the surface of a road and then freezes, raising the surface. When temperatures warm, ice under the surface melts, forming holes. Cars crush the raised surfaces, forming potholes. Anyone in Lorain seeking pothole repairs should call the Street Department at (440) 244-4294.