Weather continues to hurt war on potholes - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Weather continues to hurt war on potholes

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If you've been on just about any road around the region, you know just how enormous the pothole problem is this year. When it's below freezing,there's only a temporary solution. But the brief warm up we had last week allowed crews to use some hot patches.

Gerken Materials has an asphalt plant in the City of Toledo that is usually closed from late November through April. The company was able to briefly open up the plant last week to help fight back against the seemingly never ending pothole repair work.

It's the same story all over the region. Pothole, after pothole, after pothole. Mandy Gerken-Snyder's family business is part of the solution to the pothole problem, "The conditions will warrant a lot of repairs in the next year. I think city officials everywhere are going to have a difficult time figuring out how to deal with the unusual conditions."

When the mercury dips below the freezing mark, cold patch is the only option but cold patch is only a temporary fix. Asphalt is a more permanent solution, "There are several main things that are important to asphalt when you are laying it. One is compaction and another is getting it to adhere. When it cools too quickly that will affect both the adhesiveness and compaction."

Gerken Materials is a Napoleon based company that operates an asphalt plant here in Toledo and it's extremely rare to open it up in the winter months. Dave Welch heads up Toledo's Division of Streets, Bridges and Harbor,"We need to do something. We've got a lot of holes in the road and it's a danger to cars. We use cold mix when we can and we did have a quick opportunity last week to use hot mix, we did what we could."

Opening the plant was not a money making venture. Mandy says say money is not what this was about. It was to help out the community, "We were able to get 750-800 tons laid last week, but because of the cold temperatures we had to shut it back down. Given the opportunity to help the Ohio Department of Transportation and the City of Toledo we'll open it again."

Toledo leaders say they expect to be dealing with pothole repairs for the next three to four months. On a side note, you might think that the demand for asphalt is what could drive prices up, but that is not necessarily the case. Leaders at Gerken say the price of asphalt is actually tied to the price of petroleum more than demand.

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