NJ deploys "pothole killers" to patch roads

Pothole killer truck

March 20, 2013 2:41:42 PM PDT
It's that time of year again: winter's repeated freeze-and-thaw cycle has taken its toll on area roads, creating potholes that can bend rims, blow out tires and work your nerves.

Aware of what's out there, the New Jersey Department of Transportation has deployed six so-called "pothole killer" trucks throughout the state.

"It's a machine one person can operate from inside the cab of the trunk so it's a lot safer than having boots on the road exposed to traffic," said Rich Shaw, Assistant DOT Commissioner.

From the seat, the driver can guide an arm which uses a spray-injection to deliver hot asphalt and gravel, filling the hole with a strong, durable patch.

"We have some done four or five years ago that's still there," said DOT crew supervisor Jeff Guttridge. He added that, in some cases, the road actually breaks up around the patch.

In the 2012 fiscal year, the DOT filled 170,000 potholes. This year they expect to fill about 200,000. That, they say, isn't as bad as years past when they've filled up to 350,000.

Tired of repair bills, drivers say the work can't go quickly enough.

"In my very nice Beamer hit it and had to spend over $300 on a new rim and tire," said Katelyn Story of Maple Shade.

Sharon Troxell of Cherry Hill says she had to have back surgery after hitting a big pothole years ago.

"We didn't see it because it blended with the road and we hit it. There was some undercarriage damage but we were on our way," she said. "Next thing you know I couldn't get out of bed the next day."

To report potholes in New Jersey, visit the Pothole Reporting page on the NJ DOT website.