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Pothole Patrol: How holes get patched

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Mar 20 2013 04:50:02 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 21 2013 10:39:24 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Every week in the spring, City of Bozeman workers hit the streets to fix potholes so drivers don't have a bumpy ride.

"If it's on the pothole list, we go where ever it's at" said City Service Worker Joshua Watson.

With a list they receive from the pothole hotline, they find the open chunks in the road and get to work.

It starts with cleaning the road with a blower to clear away dust and concrete chunks.

Then, the workers pour the asphalt they mix ahead of time with a special machine.

"We have a machine called the Bagela" Watson said. "It makes eight to ten ton an hour."

The asphalt the city uses to patch the potholes is recycled, and is referred to as RAP (Recycled Asphalt Product). And it's hot- they head it up to 300 degrees, before letting it loose from the truck.

Workers shovel and rake the asphalt over each hole, then break out a lawn mower-looking machine.

"It's a Wacker Neuson- it compacts the asphalt" Watson said. "It's just a small version of a big roller."

While the process is quick and easy enough, what's not easy is finding all the holes around town to cover.

"We're not out driving around, looking for them" said Street Superintendent John Vandelinder.

He said they rely on people calling the pothole hotline so they know exactly where to go.

"The longer you drive over it, the more the street will break away and it's a bigger repair than we have to do in the summer" Vandelinder said.

So the quicker someone calls a pothole in, the faster it gets fixed- and the better the roads.

To report a pothole in Bozeman, residents can all the Pothole Hotline at 582-3208. Callers will leave a message with the address or cross streets where the pothole is located.