August 1, 2007
As major Department of Transportation road spending has dwindled to nothing in many states, and the 5 year housing boom is at a perilous end - many streets and highways won't be getting paved - so, where does that leave our roads and highways?
With the coffers going dry, many state and local municipalities will be forced to revert to maintenance of roads, aka, patching. Call it a bandaid, fine, but something is better than nothing. Or is it? And, while It's unfortunate that we wait for the economic cycles to dictate our policies for infrastructure repair - it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you don't change the oil on your car, get the tires aligned, and take a periodic gander under the hood - eventually both you and your car will miss some work days. So, why are the streets any different. Well, they're not.
Maintenance of roads. A bandaid on a road can be a good thing, but one needs to be selective about what is used. Most patches in urban markets that experience radical temperature swings, well, they usually don't last past the day - just ask the cop on the corner beat, he'll set the record straight. So, fixing them right is a challenge, otherwise, you'll be back out there the next day - doing it again. Not good if you're a mayor seeking re-election.
What are the choices?
We've come across some new technology (ok, maybe not that new), but new to us, that warrants more consideration when times are tough, and patching is the only thing you can afford. Cold asphalt technolgoy has come a long ways, and a few companies are offering products that can withstand the rigors of the big city streets, in all weather, hot or cold, rain or shine. While the initial cost is higher, manufacturers claim that the city crews will be less taxed by freeing up equipment, and will be able to perform the repairs, even if the weather is poor. Moreover, these permanent asphalt cold mix products come with guarantees. So, when you do the math, it appears that there is some considerable savings, when one compares the labor and equpment expenses that accompany these fixes - when more temporary products, such as conventional cold mix or hot mix is used. I'm encouraged. Now, if they could just patch that pothole on my road - Now, that sounds like pothole relief.