Wetter Weather Means More Potholes

Fort Worth using special truck to fill potholes more quickly

The recent wet weather means you're likely experiencing a bumpy ride on some roadways as potholes are popping up.

Last year Fort Worth filled 125,000 potholes, but now expects that number to increase thanks to the wetter weather.

When the rain clears you can expect to see city crews pulling up, this week that included Ruben Galan. But Galan's ride wasn't the typical two-man manual labor intensive patch crew of the past. This week Galan was driving The Patcher, a $190,000 city vehicle that street superintendent Stan Phillips said will fill more potholes, more cheaply and more effectively.

"The patches we did during the demo in 2010 are still in place," Phillips said. "We're very pleased with this piece of equipment."

Phillips said he'd like to have more of them. A second one is set to arrive next year but Phillips would ideally like to have one per council district, especially given the increase in potholes this year.

"So far this year we're on a trend to approach 200,000 potholes and that's simply because of the wetter weather," Philliips said. "So we got the machine in a good year."

The machine can fill about 1,000 potholes a week and can fill an average sized pothole in anywhere from 15 seconds to a minute or two. Galan spent a recent morning fixing the side of Kearney Avenue in north Fort Worth, where he said the machine is pretty easy to use.

"It's just like a video game," Galan said. "Everybody plays video games now-a-days, so yeah, it's pretty easy."

Phillips says it costs the city $3 to fill each pothole but the machine should reduce that number as the city doesn't have to buy as much asphalt from outside companies and doesn't waste the hours required to acquire that material. And since the machine only requires one person to operate it, the second city worker can focus on other projects.

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