Spring has sprung a fresh crop of potholes on the roadways, but MTA Bridges and Tunnels' Hot Box Crews and the self-contained "Roadpatcher" truck, which can repair more than 100 potholes in an eight-hour shift, are out to smooth things over for drivers at the Authority's nine facilities.
"Our goal is to repair the potholes as quickly as possible and make the roads safe and smooth for everyone," said Acting MTA Bridges and Tunnels President David Moretti. "We are trying to accomplish this with as little disruption to drivers as possible, and appreciate our customers' patience while this necessary work is performed."
To date, MTA Bridges and Tunnels has used more than 6,000 gallons of liquid asphalt emulsion, 50 tons of aggregate stone and more than 15 tons of hot asphalt
Potholes are the result of the freeze and thaw cycle that occurs during winter months when rain and snow seeps into cracks in the concrete and asphalt surfaces. When frozen the moisture expands, and the crack widens as traffic continues to ride over the spot. Despite a relatively mild winter, the up and down temperatures provided by Mother Nature left enough work for the crews to tackle.
The larger potholes are repaired by B&T Hot Box Crews, teams of five to seven maintenance workers, equipped with shovels, power tools and a truck carrying three tons of asphalt. After removing loose debris in the hole, liquid emulsion is poured in to seal it, and hot asphalt is placed on top. A heavy roller vehicle is used to smooth the asphalt for repairs bigger than 100 square feet in area.
The Roadpatcher is an odd-looking, self-contained, one-man unit that can carry 250 gallons of liquid asphalt and four cubic yards of asphalt aggregate stone. The driver performs the entire repair operation from the safety of the truck's cab, thanks to the Roadpatcher's unique design, which features a nozzle attached to the end of a boom in the front of the truck. The boom/nozzle can blast small particles and moisture from the pothole using air, then apply a coat of hot emulsion and asphalt to the hole and cover it with a layer of stone aggregate.
During the repair process, a single lane is usually closed for safety reasons. There are occasions when large potholes may require two lanes to be shut down so crews can work safely. A backup truck, with an electronic arrow board to direct traffic around the worksite, is always on hand when the Roadpatcher and Hot Box Crews are working.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels facilities include the Triborough, Verrazano-Narrows, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck, Cross Bay, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial and Henry Hudson Bridges, and the Brooklyn-Battery and Queens Midtown Tunnels.
A B&T Hot Box Crew tackles potholes on the Triborough Bridge
MTA Bridges and Tunnels' odd-looking but efficient Roadpatcher
machine hard at work on the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.