Short and long term pothole fixes

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Our mini stretch of dry weather has allowed some communities, like Easthampton, to try a relatively new treatment for potholes.

When water freezes, it expands. Once water gets into cracks in the roads, when it freezes, it expands and breaks apart the road creating potholes.

“They’re the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen in my life. They’re worse than before and even last winter they weren’t as bad as now,” said Yelena Gokhgalter from Holyoke.

At least one western Massachusetts community is taking a relatively new approach to fixing them.

With cold patch not working and hot patch not available until spring, the Easthampton DPW has decided to use “emulsified asphalt.”

Emulsified asphalt’s layers of stone and liquid bind to the pothole in 5 minutes and seal much better than a cold patch, but it is more expensive.

This emulsified asphalt in stone can only really be used when the potholes don’t have any water in it, so a dry day is best.

Easthampton first tried this technology out last year, but it hadn’t been dry enough to use it yet this season, until now.

While this technique for patching helps, there is a much more costly, but more permanent solution to potholes: thicker roads.

“If you go down below the frost line or down to the frost line and take out four feet of material and put four feet of nice clean gravel in, you’ll have your roads last a long time, but your roads will be tremendously more expensive,” said Joseph Pipczynski director of Easthampton Public Works.

And pipes underneath the road would also have to be lowered.

Hot patch is usually available by April, cold temperatures prevent its transport until then.

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