David Knox and Dan Pompili | The Gazette
There is no quick fix for potholes. The Ohio Department of Transportation reported it has spent more than $2.5 million on pothole repairs this winter, using more than 85,000 man hours and more than 3,700 tons of patching materials.
ODOT spokeswoman Joyce Miller said all they can do is apply a cold-asphalt patch that doesn’t last.
“It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a cut that really needs stitches,” she said.
Hot asphalt is needed for a more permanent fix, but that can’t be used when the weather is bitter cold.
Miller acknowledged that so much patch work on state roads means many of them make for a bumpy ride, but said the state has to spend its road dollars wisely.
“Next year, we’ll be resurfacing state Route 57 between Medina and Wadsworth, so we won’t invest a lot on repairs for it now, because we’re investing in a full resurfacing next year,” she said. “We will get out and repair it and keep it maintained as best we can, though.”
Local officials agree that temporary fixes are the only answer for now.
Brunswick Service Director Pat McNamara said cold patching is all they can do until warmer weather arrives.
When that happens, workers will clean out the potholes, use an adhesive solution to coat them and then plug them with hot patch.
But that is still only a short-term fix for a long-term problem.
“What happens is roads get progressively worse because we have no money to do more road repairs, and we’re seeing a more rapid decline,” he said. “It’s a matter of reinvesting in our infrastructure that we are unable to do at the present time.”
Medina Service Director Nino Piccoli said this year’s harsh winter has damaged many roadways so severely that cold patches don’t work.
“They just pop out,” he said.
Piccoli said he met with Mayor Dennis Hanwell last month and came up with an alternative stopgap fix for some of the worst washboard roadways — “milling,” or grinding off, the top layer of payment to eliminate or at least shrink the size of the potholes.
“At least it’s not as rough,” he said.
Workers already have milled down a stretch of the west side of North Court Street, just south of Reagan Parkway, Piccoli said. “This month they will do the same to a portion on the east side of North Court Street, north of Harding Street.
Piccoli the two areas will be resurfaced this spring.