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Doing Potholes a Little Differently This Year…
Mayor Menino Launches Innovative Pothole Filling Pilot as Part of SpotHoles Campaign

City to Test New Solutions Such as Silly Putty-like Substance and “Green” Materials to Defeat Potholes

Boston’s commitment to defeat the scourge of potholes has lead it to develop the nation’s most innovative tools to detect those craters such as Citizens Connect and Street Bump. Now, that commitment is leading it to test innovative solutions to fill potholes. As part of Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s “SpotHoles” campaign to report and fill potholes, the Public Works Department will be piloting three unique pothole filling solutions. Those solutions include a filling material based out of silly putty and a green, 100% recyclable material.

“I expect our city to innovate constantly to better serve Bostonians” said Mayor Menino. “Potholes are a major menace to drivers. We are conducting this pilot test because we believe that these innovative solutions may offer longer-lasting, more environmentally friendly solutions than traditional pothole filling materials.”

Using these materials, Public Works Department crews will fill potholes on different street types, ranging from major truck routes to quiet residential roads. Over the next six months, the repairs will be monitored to determine their longevity. In addition to longevity, the new materials will be evaluated using the following criteria: ease of use for road repair crews, environmental benefits, costs, and logistical concerns.

The three materials to be tested are Hole Patch, Aquaphalt, and UPM. Hole Patch utilizes a silly putty like material in a Kevlar bag that is placed in potholes. City workers simply place a Hole Patch bag in the pothole to make it safe for drivers. They return when weather conditions improve to make a permanent repair. Because Hole Patch advertises as easy to apply, it can in theory save the city costs on temporary repairs.

Aquaphalt advertises as an eco-friendly and durable solution to potholes. Aquaphalt contains a vegetable oil based binder, which contains no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), a contributor to air pollution in Boston. Many repairs with Aquaphalt last beyond ten years, much longer than the industry standard for pothole patching materials.

UPM advertises as a “permanent” pothole repair material designed to outlast the surrounding pavement. The product is designed to focus on maximum survivability of repairs. UPM is 100% recyclable and contains well below all VOC and other Massachusetts regulation limits.

“The Public Works Department takes innovation seriously. We always seek out ways to improve the services we deliver to Boston’s residents. This pilot is a great opportunity to experiment with new solutions to make our roads smoother” said Joanne Massaro, Commissioner of Public Works.

The pilot of part of Mayor Menino’s “SpotHoles” campaign. The campaign encourages residents to assist the Public Works Department in its annual quest to fill potholes created by the cold, snowy winter. To date, nearly 1,000 potholes have been reported and filled since the campaign’s launch March 13.

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