Feb 28, 2011 7:13 PM by Allyson Weller (KPAX News)
MISSOULA - The harsh winter is taking its toll on Missoula-area roads by causing a never-ending supply of potholes and the patching material used by the city doesn't stay in place for very long.
Missoula's Street Division Superintendent Brian Hansel says they may have found a solution to the pothole problem with help from Bozeman. The city has borrowed an asphalt recycler machine that should help keep the potholes filled.
"The mayor came to me a while back and said 'Brian, we have to do something else.' I thought well lets call the City of Bozeman, I knew they had this machine for the last 2 or 3 years and I had heard good things about it, and we were just really fortunate that they were kind enough to let me borrow it," said Hansel.
The machine costs about $140,000 and makes hot asphalt in the winter. Bozeman isn't having the sever pothole issue like Missoula, so they're able to lend Missoula the machine for a few weeks.
"This gives us an opportunity to provide a better patch that will actually seal the existing potholes and prevent moisture and water from getting back underneath the patches and then freezing and thawing and blowing them out," said Hansel.
Hansel says the street division budget is over drawn but they "can't just stop" fixing Missoula. He said crews are working overtime and the city is committed to filling potholes, doing snow operations, and to getting the streets fixed up.
"We're just as frustrated as the public and hopefully this recycler will buy us some time and hopefully these patches will last for 3 weeks to a month or however long we need to until we can get out and start overlying this stuff," said Hansel.
The city plans to repave streets in Missoula as soon as the weather changes, but for now they are warning Missoula residents to drive slow and be alert to avoid damage to their vehicles.