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Asphalt Patch: The Pothole Solution … Sometimes


To protect pavement – and the vehicles that drive over it – municipal road repair crews use an asphalt patch as the first tactic for addressing a pothole. But not all materials used to fill potholes are the same, nor are the conditions when potholes happen.

The good news is that newer technologies in asphalt patch repairs can be permanent, even in cold and wet conditions.

In fact, while potholes occur almost as much in warmer climates (e.g., Southern California) from basic wear, tear, and precipitation as in regions that experience wintertime pavement woes (e.g., New England and the Great Lakes regions), the conditions under which they need to be repaired vary. It’s a lot easier to fix a road with traditional hot asphalt when ambient air temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.


Asphalt patch in wet conditions Asphalt patch in wet conditions
Asphalt patch in cold conditions Asphalt patch in cold conditions

The reason for this is that standard asphalt – the kind used in 99% of road, parking lot, and residential driveway construction – is delivered hot (between 275 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit) from the asphalt plant. This is essential for working with asphalt and for it to set when it cools. Warmer temperatures are necessary for permanent pothole repairs with traditional asphalt mix.

EZ Street Premium Cold Asphalt was developed in part to address this very problem. With a polymer-modified mix it can be laid in wintertime conditions, including in standing water. This eliminates the need to return in warmer months for a costly second repair.

The winter pothole dilemma

Traditional hot asphalt isn’t even manufactured at plants in colder regions during winter when paving isn’t possible. And it’s not just about temperature: potholes cannot have standing water in them, either, for an asphalt repair that lasts. That leaves cities like Minneapolis, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and places further south with a dilemma: Given how the conditions of winter, with its freeze-thaw cycles, actually create the most potholes, how are those wintertime potholes effectively filled and fixed?

Syracuse, New York tried tackling this with a sophisticated use of GPS technology, digitally recording the locations of temporarily filled potholes. But as the city’s chief data officers, Sam Edelstein, told Pew Research, “We are trying to limit the number of times we’re revisiting a street,” he said. “If they’ve been on a block three times in the last two months, why is that? Is there some underlying condition? Is there something wrong with the fill not lasting?”.

Permanent winter pothole repairs are possible

EZ Street Premium Cold Asphalt has become the go-to product for use in virtually all weather conditions. The polymer-modified mix is also used for paving new roads in cold, wet places such as subterranean mines. Applied to potholes, utility cuts, overlays, and edge repairs, it’s the permanent patch of asphalt that cuts repair programs in half. Departments of transportation find they can keep it in bulk or 50-pound bags for use wherever and whenever necessary.