COLUMBIA, Mo. - The city of Columbia began a project to repair potholes and inspect for water leaks along a major thoroughfare Thursday.
A Public Works official said the material crews will use will hopefully provide a longer-lasting fix to the problem, as well.
Lanes were restricted along Forum Boulevard between Forum Katy Parkway and Mills Drive starting at 6 a.m. In addition to pothole repairs the Public Works Department plans to inspect the road for water leaks under the pavement surface, the department said in a news release. Lane restrictions are expected throughout the day Thursday.
Public Works Engineering and Operating Manager Richard Stone said the length of time the repairs will take depends on what crews find Thursday. Stone said it appears water is getting into the pavement.
Stone also said Public Works is trying out a new method for fixing potholes that might provide a more permanent solution.
Columbia Public Works purchased an asphalt plant this past year that makes a “hot mix” to fill in potholes, which is different from the usual “cold mix” they have been using.
“It’s typically not a permanent patch. It can last for a long time, but it doesn’t typically last, particularly if there are continuing water problems in the area,” Stone said about the cold mix. “When you pursue a hot mix process, where you actually dig it out and repair the underlying road surface, then that can be a more permanent solution.”
Stone said the asphalt they use in the plant costs less than the cold mix. He also mentioned each repair with the hot mix requires more road work and individual workers.
Public Works wants to primarily use the new hot mix, but the process takes longer, “If we have a few days to be able to pursue a more permanent approach, then that’s going to be better for a number of reasons,” Stone said. “One, just the cost of the material itself, and it's a more permanent repair, so we aren’t out there again, disturbing traffic again.”
Potholes have appeared on city streets throughout Columbia after a winter punctuated by frequent precipitation and bouts of extreme cold. Columbia public works does not have an exact count of potholes, but Stone said this winter has been more harsh on the roads than the past three years,
“Generally when you have a harsher winter with more mechanical action, from plows, you can expect to have more potholes,” he said
Public Works has not yet calculated the financial impact of winter weather and potholes this season.