Traverse City Record-Eagle

Our Views

May 21, 2014

Editorial: So far, potholes are winning

Traverse City officials should sit down this minute and write out a check for $70,000 to buy an asphalt recycling machine that can turn old, ground-up asphalt into two tons of hot patch in 20 minutes.

They should then arm every worker they have with a shovel and start filling potholes.

OK, maybe that’s not the best approach. Officials still have to perform their due diligence to protect the public interest. But speed counts.

In an evil twist to a brutal winter, road crews across the region have been stymied in their efforts to attack an “exceptionally bad” crop of potholes by cold, rainy weather.

Since March city crews put 102 tons of cold asphalt patch into potholes but the cold patch doesn’t last. Crews prefer hot mix that comes directly from privately operated asphalt plants that gear up for the construction season. Local asphalt plants opened in early May but cold, wet weather shut them down. So for now, the patching has stopped.

Dave Green, Traverse City’s director of public services, said a company recently demonstrated a $70,000 asphalt recycler that turns ground-up asphalt into hot mix to patch potholes. His crews “loved it” and wanted Green to buy one on the spot.

Whether that pans out or not, the city and county are faced with a massive job and taxpayers tired of maneuvering across the moonscape that is our road system just want relief, and now.

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