MIAMI, FL (07/31/07) -- The United States Department of Transportation says that more then 8.5 million miles of public roadway make up the US Highway system. It is the largest network of roadways in the world. Of those 8.5 million miles, more than half are asphalt-paved roads. In short, that’s a lot of pavement. Since a great majority of the US road system was paved in the 1950s and 1960s, it is not surprising to find some degradation in its infrastructure. If you drive across the country you will find roads in various states of repair – some newly paved and some damaged – and the most common complaint heard from drivers is about the pothole.
Pothole repair – also called asphalt patching – has become more efficient over the decades with new systems, products and methods for roadway repair. Today, roadways can be resurfaced or patched faster and with better durability than ever before. But it was the development of cold asphalt – a polymer-modified, high-performance, heat-resistant, non-messy and incredibly durable asphalt – in the mid-90s that quickly earned the praise of the building and construction industry worldwide and revolutionized the process of repairing public roadways.
To truly understand the impact of cold asphalt on road repair, you need to understand the impact of potholes on the American economy and how a pothole develops.
A pothole is simply a defect in the road usually caused by environmental factors such as ice, heat, and rain. Potholes can be caused by anything that puts a cut in the road surface, but the biggest contributor to road damage is good old Mother Nature. A road expands and contracts with the hot and cold temperatures of the environment. It naturally fractures and cracks – a process similar to the aging process of your skin when exposed to harsh elements. As the cracks become more significant, water can collect in those spaces after it snows or rains and the surrounding pavement literally begins to chip away and separate – a pothole is born.
The origins of the term “pothole” are probably related to its characteristic shape, which is roughly circular and pot like. The term is also used by geologists to refer to the natural erosion processes on rocks and in rivers that form basins. It is also used in some parts of the Western United States to describe a dirt or mud wallow used by cattle and pigs. All of the meanings of the word are clearly related as they all describe pits or holes in a surface.
Potholes negatively affect driving conditions because they make the road coarse and bumpy. As chunks of pavement are pulled out, the pothole will grow every larger and deeper, and it can spread quickly across the entire roadway if it is not addressed. For this reason, road crews attempt to regularly inspect roads to monitor signs of potholes and arrest their growth if they are discovered. But with more than 8 million miles of roadway it is inevitable that every driver will experience some interactions with potholes. The end result can be a bumpy ride, or the worst-case scenario can be a damaged wheel or car alignment. The US Department of Transportation spent $286.4 billion repairing and fixing existing federal highways in 2005, but still they estimate that bad roadways cost Americans $54.8 billion in car repairs each year – that’s $275 per motorist.
Road crews continue to repair potholes by filling them with replacement pavement material of some kind. But the traditional method of using hot asphalt required big equipment and a moderate climate that allowed the hot asphalt to be poured and cured before rain or cold could come into contact with it. In some cities that would mean a total of 90 days a year to complete roadway repairs before temperatures or inclement weather prohibited the work. But cold patch technology – also known as cold mix and cold asphalt – changed everything. Cold asphalt is applied straight from the container or the back of a truck, without heating. It is easy to tamp down and doesn’t require complicated expensive machinery. Cold asphalt can be applied at all times of the year and it can stop the further expansion of a pothole in a matter of minutes instead of hours or days. In short, cold asphalt is so easy to use and cost effective that roads can be patched and repaired faster than ever before.
Cold asphalt can be used on every surface defect from the smallest pothole to very large utility cuts and the roadway can be driven on that same day.
EZ Street Cold Asphalt is an advanced cold mix product that can repair potholes permanently with a single application. It is so easy to use that any homeowner can make driveway repairs in a single afternoon. But EZ Street cold patch is durable enough to stand up to busiest interstate traffic, making it the perfect solution for repairing those 8.5 million miles we travel.