New Jersey Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said the agency is deploying a fleet of 11 pothole-filling machines that use hot patch material in this year's early starting annual pothole repair campaign, along with crews shoveling cold patches on many of the state's roads.
The announcement said that this winter's weather pattern – with temperatures often fluctuating above and below freezing, along with recurring snowstorms and rainfall – is producing a large number of potholes on state highways.
"The frequent snowstorms early in the winter, along with heavy rains recently and severe swings in temperature have been particularly harsh on our roads this year," said Gutierrez-Scaccetti. "Keeping New Jersey's roads in good condition is a priority, and NJDOT strives to repair potholes on state highways as quickly as possible."
She said the department launched its pothole repair campaign in mid-February rather than waiting for spring as it normally does.
In addition to the usual winter method of using cold patch material for repairs, the NJDOT said the pothole-filling machines can make a more durable repair than cold patch.
"The pothole-filling machine is a truck that can heat a mix of asphalt and gravel before injecting the mixture into the pothole," it said. A single person operates that machine while another operates an accompanying safety truck.
"The pothole-filling machines provide several advantages to the traditional 'throw-and-go' method of a crew shoveling a cold patch into a pothole," said Assistant Commissioner for Operations and Maintenance Andrew Tunnard. He said the machines "allow our crews to cover a larger area more quickly and safely because the worker doesn't have to get out of the truck. The machines also save time and money by providing a more lasting repair."
The announcement added that as the weather warms up and now-closed asphalt plants reopen, "our crews will start to perform permanent patch operations on particularly problematic sections of roadway. This is more extensive work that includes milling and paving a small area of the road, and generally will be done overnight."
Meanwhile, "to deal with potholes in the most aggressive and efficient manner," it said, "the department will be allowing crews throughout the state to close travel lanes where necessary during daytime hours, including during peak travel times for priority repairs."
Where possible, it added, crews will limit daytime work hours to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and try to avoid working in travel lanes carrying traffic in the peak direction during peak times. "However, motorists might encounter maintenance crews making priority repairs any time of the day or night during this campaign," it said.
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