March 30, 2015
Newport Might Buy a Pothole Killer, Create Pothole App

Newport Might Buy a Pothole Killer, Create Pothole App

Newport, like most New England cities and towns, inevitably has to deal with potholes every spring, and this year is a particularly bad year.

Potholes consume huge amounts of city time and resources as crews scramble to fill them nearly as fast as they appear, sort of like a game of Whack-A-Mole (Fill-A-Hole?).

Recently, the appearance of Patch Management’s Pothole Killers — trucks equipped with a boon and spraying mechanism to fill potholes — is tempting communities in the snowbelt to try a new approach to filling potholes instead of the old-school method of shoveling cold patch into the holes in early spring.

Last week, the Newport City Council passed a resolution that asks the city administration to investigate the possible purchase or rental of one or more of the Pothole Killers trucks.

At the same time, the resolution calls for the city to consider developing a smartphone application that would enable Newporters to report a pothole in real-time directly to the city.

Councillor John Florez was the primary sponsor of the resolution and said that potholes have a negative economic impact on the city in addition to causing damage to vehicles and undermining city infrastructure. “It’s no secret” that Newport has a significant problem with potholes, he said, and it’s time for Newport to get out in front of the problem.

He said that along with investigating the purchase or lease of one of the trucks, the application would offer a speedy way for the city to get real-time pothole data from residents.

“And the administration can notify people when the issue is resolved,” Florez said.

The trucks aren’t cheap and can cost more than $100,000 but Councilors said that the investment is worth it in part because one truck can fill hundreds of potholes in one day (with one person behind the wheel) and the cost of traditional repairs and wear on tear on everyone’s cars is likely more.

“I think looking into this expense and the savings of dollars and saving our cars is a really good thing,” said Councilor Kate Leonard.

Check out the video below for a demonstration of how the machine works.