Evaluation of winter pothole patching methods.
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Evaluation of winter pothole patching methods.

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      The main objective of this study was to evaluate the performance and cost-effectiveness of the tow-behind combination infrared asphalt heater/reclaimer patching method and compare it to the throw and roll and spray injection methods. To achieve this objective a national survey was first conducted to document the experience of the infrared asphalt heater/reclaimer users in different states. In addition, a comprehensive testing program, that included installing over 60 patches using the three considered methods as well as monitoring the performance and survivability of those patches, was performed. The results of the survey and subsequent phone interviews indicated that the infrared asphalt heater/reclaimer equipment can significantly improve the performance and longevity of pothole patches and can be cost-effective when proper installation procedures are followed. The results of testing program indicated that the infrared method had much lower productivity than the other two methods. In addition, the throw and roll had better productivity than the spray injection method. The properties and storage procedure of the asphalt mixture used in the infrared method were found to affect the performance of the installed patches. Improper storage of the infrared heater/reclaimer equipment also was found to cause problems in igniting the infrared heater, which significantly increased the patching duration. In general, most of the deterioration in the patches installed using the different methods occurred in the first month of installation and continued after that but at much slower rate. The infrared patches had significantly better performance than those installed using the two other patching methods. The main distress in infrared patches was raveling, while it was dishing for the throw and roll and spray injection patches. The results of survivability analyses also indicated that the patches installed using infrared had much longer expected life than those installed using the other two considered methods. The results of the cost analyses showed that the infrared method can be more cost-effective than the spray injection method when used for winter pothole patching. For short term repairs, the throw and roll method was found to cost less than the infrared method if the user cost were not considered. However, for permanent repairs, the infrared method can be more cost effective than throw and roll method. In summary, the tow-behind infrared heater/reclaimer was found to be an efficient and cost effective method for patching certain types of potholes as well as performing other pavement repairs. A strategy for its deployment in Ohio is provided in this report.
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