Oct 18, 2010 7:27 PM by Carolyn Cerda

Pothole Killer

Louisiana is known to top the list of "Worst Roads in the Nation." But, some Lafayette drivers could be in for a smoother ride. New technology to fill potholes is being taken for a test drive in the Hub City. A Philadelphia company has one of it's "Pothole Killer" trucks in town for a 10 day trial. It was brought in by the Louisiana Department of Transportation.

"They want to be proactive," said Craig Baclit, President of Patch Management. "They know what the winter brings, what the rain brings and they're looking for a better solution to pothole repair. They want to keep the roads safe and this is one of the applications they can use."

Baclit says the truck was brought in as an experiment, to prove to LDOT what he already knows. He says the "cold spray patch technology" provides a better, easier, and faster way of filling potholes.

"It's one of the most efficient and cost effective ways... plus it's also safe for employees who don't have to stand on the highways," said Baclit.

Baclit says instead of 3 or 4 workers standing on highways to get the job done, the "pothole killer" truck can be operated by just one person, who never has to get out of the vehicle. He also says a patch job only takes 30-60 seconds.

Patch Management has it's trucks in several cities throughout the East Coast. For over six years, the system has been in use in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. Now, the company is hoping to expand across Louisiana.

"We know that in New Orleans, and Jefferson Parish, they seem to be satisfied with what's going on here," said Bill Fontenot with LDOT. "We realized Verot had a high volume of traffic it would be quite a good test to start there first."

The truck starting filling potholes on Verot School Rd. on Monday. It will complete 14 miles of patchwork from Ambassador Caffery to Milton Rd. If the job is complete before 10 days, the truck will move on to other streets in the city.

The new trucks are something Fontenot says the department is seriously considering.

"It seems to be a nice looking process, it's certainly impressive. But, it's really the bottom line that has to be analyzed relative to cost."

The state paid $20,000 for the trial run. After the trial, LDOT will review how well the trucks work, and determine if it is worth the cost. If a contract is eventually signed with Patch Management, more "pothole killer" trucks could hit Lafayette roads by 2011.



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