Potholes may be less of a problem in Bristol than they are in other Rhode Island communities, but on Tuesday morning, it didn’t take work crews very long to find one.
Town officials and Department of Public Works crews hovered over a foot and a half long divot at the corner of Metacom Avenue and Academy Avenue where Karl Wadensten, president of VIBCO, Inc., demonstrated how to fix a pothole using the method and product his company sells.
Then he gave the Town of Bristol the $2,200 piece of equipment with one stipulation.
“Use it. If you don’t use it, we’ll come take it back,” he said.
Mr. Wadensten extended the same offer to all Rhode Island municipalities, promoting Rhode Island “to be pothole free”.
Bristol officials took him up on the offer.
“The key is the private public collaboration,” Mr. Wadensten said during his brief presentation to town officials. “We want your feedback. That helps us grow.”
According to Mr. Wadensten, VIBCO employs 100 people at their Richmond, RI based company where the vibrating roller used to pack asphalt is made.
To receive the free piece of equipment, Mr. Wadensten asked that the DPW entertains “a willingness to try a new way” of pothole repair.
Bristol, like other towns, look for a quick fix when potholes are discovered or reported.
“If we see them, we’re on them,” said James Silvester, DPW foreman.
Crews will fill the hole with shovels full of asphalt and tamper it down by driving a truck over the patch. While the benefit is that the hole gets fixed quickly, the downside is that it will soon have to be repaired again.
Town Administrator Tony Teixeira said his office receives a half dozen calls a week reporting potholes.
“This takes a couple of minutes longer, but you don’t come back,” Mr. Wadensten said.
The method demonstrated is fairly simple. Find a pothole. Remove loose debris from it. Fill it with clean asphalt. Tamper the patch with the vibrating roller. Rake any loose material from the surface. Tamper the patch once again.
Besides benefiting from the free piece of equipment, the method used could also save the town on the amount of asphalt used over time.
And another benefit, said Mr. Wadensten, is that no longer will fixing a pothole result in creating a bump.
Crews in Bristol will begin to use the new method right away in hope of making the town pothole free.