The New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) is beginning a campaign to repair potholes across the state.
Although this past winter was mild in comparison to the previous two winters, the blizzard in January, as well as several snow and rainstorms, have produced a large number of potholes on state highways, which pose a risk for motorists.
“Winter weather is always harsh on our roads, and this year has been no different,” said Acting DOT Commissioner Richard T. Hammer. “Now that the worst of winter is likely behind us, our crews will focus on repairing potholes on state highways as quickly as possible to ensure New Jersey’s roads are in good condition.”
To deal with potholes in the most aggressive and efficient manner, DOT will allow crews throughout the state to close travel lanes where necessary during daytime hours, including during peak travel times for priority repairs.
Where possible, crews will limit their daytime work hours from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., per standard protocol, and will try to avoid working in travel lanes carrying traffic in the peak direction during peak times, Hammer said. However, motorists might encounter maintenance crews making priority repairs any time of the day or night during this campaign.
In addition to DOT’s usual winter pothole repair method of using cold-patch material, the department is using 13 state-of-the-art pothole-filling machines, which make a more durable repair than cold patch, Hammer said. The pothole-filling machine is a truck that can heat a mix of asphalt and gravel before injecting the mixture into the pothole. These machines require just one person to operate, with another worker operating a safety truck.
“The pothole-filling machines provide several advantages to the traditional ‘throw-and-go’ method where a crew shovels cold patch into a pothole,” Assistant Commissioner for Operations and Maintenance Andrew Tunnard said. “The machines save time and money by providing a more lasting repair. They also allow our crews to cover a larger area more quickly and safely because the worker doesn’t have to get out of the truck.”
As the weather continues to warm up and asphalt plants reopen, crews will start to perform permanent patch operations on particularly problematic sections of roadway. This is more extensive work that includes milling and paving a small area of the road and generally will be done overnight, Hammer said.
DOT typically repairs about 180,000 potholes per year, although in the past two years the department repaired an average of 270,000 potholes each year because of the severe winters. Between July 1, 2015 and March 11 of this year, DOT has repaired more than 136,000 potholes, with the busiest pothole repair season just starting. DOT expects to repair approximately 250,000 potholes this year.
DOT will be using variable message signs to alert motorists of the campaign and, to the extent possible, of lane closures that could result in temporary travel delays. Detailed current repair locations will be posted on a continual basis at www.511nj.org.
Motorists may call 1-800-POTHOLE or visit www.nj.gov/transportation to report potholes.