Today, Alderman Roderick Sawyer(6th), Alderman Leslie Hairston(5th)and representatives from suburban public works departments and City of Chicago Departments attended a demonstration given by Racine Industries ,the makers of Pellet Patch products. The company is hoping to show the City of Chicago that their products are a better way of filling potholes than the current "cold patch" method the city currently uses.
The Pellet Patch product is a environmentally friendly product that uses reclaimed rubber from tires and other products as well as recycled asphalt as the base. The product is heated and applied to the pothole and finally leveled off with a small motorized roller. The current method the City of Chicago uses is to apply unheated asphalt to a pothole and uses a metal tamper and level it off. While it works most of the time, it requires a large number of refills which requires more employees and time. The Pellet Patch product is not cheaper but the manufacturers believe that it will save the city money in the long run as there will be only a small number if any refills needed.
The demonstration took place in front of the building at 317-319 E 80th street in Chatham. There were three large potholes. A representative mixed the product with a portable kiln and after 10-15 minutes the product was applied to the potholes. The product looked like normal asphalt but after it was leveled and cooled you could step on it and the product was a little bouncy. A number of cars and trucks can by and the product did not come up out of the potholes and traffic flowed smoothly. The area will be monitored over the next couple of weeks to see if the product claims are true.
If the product claims are true, this would be a great product for Chicago. The city has a major problem with tires being dumped all over the place. This could encouraged tire repair and replacement shops to properly dispose of tires
by giving them a monetary incentives as Chicago is in constant need of asphalt. Secondly, it could also keep areas of the city from becoming dumping grounds for asphalt removed from public and private sites. There would not be a need to create a "silver shovel" site as there would again be a demand for used asphalt.
Overall, as the pothole problem is out of control in Chicago and the city can't "hot patch" until late May an alternative is desperately needed. The products have significant "green" features that the city could use as well as manpower could be redeployed to much needed infrastructure projects. What do you think?