Only a couple weeks into spring and road crews in Bradford West Gwillimbury have already filled more than 500 potholes.
On a cold, windy day this week, snow still on the ground in some areas, town Operator Bs Carlos Faria and Mike Oliver drive an asphalt hot-box trailer out to the 8th Line to fill potholes with fresh, steaming asphalt.
“Nothing really hard about it,” said Faria, as he shovelled hot asphalt into a pothole, covering it in seconds, before Oliver raked it over and used a tamper to pat it all down into place.
“If you’re going to lay it down, you’re going to lay it down hot,” Faria quipped.
The red hot-box, with a green cylinder burner on the side for holding diesel, is hooked up to the back of a town pickup truck.
The trailer can hold up to two tonnes of hot asphalt that gets poured into the top at a local asphalt plant on Artesian Industrial Parkway, said Kevin Vande Beek, the town’s transportation supervisor.
Before the town got the hot-box last spring, crews had to load one-tonne trucks with “cold mix” and then shovel it onto potholes from the back of the trucks at a height of three to four feet, he said.
The hot-box is about two feet off the ground, which is ergonomically better for the workers, and it can hold hot asphalt (and warmed-up cold mix) that is more effective than plain cold mix, he added.
“It actually bonds with the road better and stays in place longer,” Vande Beek said. “With the warmed-up cold mix, (and) especially with the hot asphalt, we don’t get the recurring potholes as much.”
So far this year, Vande Beek said he has only received one pothole complaint, but in a typical pothole season from March 1 to May 15, he gets about five per week.
The town has a pothole phone line — the same one for snow complaints — and all messages get sent directly to Vande Beek and the town’s rural yard supervisor.
“(Calling that line is) the best and fastest way to get a pothole fixed,” Vande Beek said.
The Town of BWG road crews also use GPS to track the potholes, he added.
Their GPS will compile information on where the potholes are and whether they have been fixed.
The roads in town with the most potholes are the older ones, Vande Beek said.
Faria and Oliver are just a couple of the handful of workers who fill potholes in BWG every day in the spring.
Faria, who has 30 years of asphalt paving experience and has worked for the town for five years, said paving roads in cold or hot weather is no problem.
“You adjust to it. It is what it is,” he said, adding he would like to see drivers slow down when passing road crews.
“Just slow down and move over,” said Vande Beek. “It’s not even about them speeding by. Even doing 40 km/h (past) someone filling a pothole… it doesn’t leave a lot of room for error.”
As the weather slowly warms up and crews fill the expected thousands of potholes around BWG this spring, Vande Beek said the town “(doesn’t) actually have a large problem with potholes.”
“Overall, we have a really good road network,” he said.
BWG POTHOLE PHONE LINE: 905-775-5366 ext. 2222