The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 6, 2013

Ashtabula pothole patch machine sold because workers didn’t like it

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — When it comes to the war on potholes, city workers have one less weapon in their arsenal.

It’s been that way for the past two years, but only a few people knew about it.

To patch potholes more efficiently, City Council in June 2008 bought a Dura-Patch machine for about $46,000, according to city records.

The city had 6,843 potholes to fill that year and then-City Manager Anthony Cantagallo hailed the new machine as the answer to the city’s bumpy problems, according to news reports at the time.

The new machine used emulsion and could repair 8 to 10 holes to every one the old machine did, and was 15 to 20 times cheaper to use, said Dom Iarocci, the city’s superintendent of public services, when he presented the machine five years ago to City Council.

With the Dura-Patch, there doesn’t have to be as many people on a crew, he said.

Come to find out, Iarocci sold the machine two years ago for $22,500 to Dover Township (near New Philadelphia, Ohio).

“It was faster and cheaper, but the guys didn’t like it,” he said. “When they didn’t use it, I said, ‘We might as well sell it.’”

City Manager Jim Timonere said, “It’s frustrating.”

Timonere spoke of the sale at Monday night’s pre-council meeting after Vice President Chris McClure asked about the machine. McClure said he remembered buying the Dura-Patch when he served on council in June 2008, when Cantagallo was manager.

“It was a machine that puts asphalt in the hole,” he said.

According to the Dura-Patch website, the material, heated to 180 degrees and applied with the machine, shouldn’t be considered a permanent fix, but it lasts much longer than any previous method.

But in Ashtabula, the temperature-controlled patching material was used for only a short time, Timonere said.

“I am told we sold it because the staff didn’t like it,” he said. “Maybe they didn’t like it because they didn’t get proper training. I don’t know. I don’t know what happened.”

Ward 2 Councilman August Pugliese said, “Potholes are popping up now that the weather is going to break and something needs to be done.”

Potholes form when snow or rain seeps into the dirt below the street. When the water freezes, the ground expands and pushes up the pavement. When temperatures rise, the ground returns to normal, creating a gap between the pavement and soil. Vehicles driving over the spot force the pavement to crack and fall into the hollow place.

Northeast Ohio’s fluctuating winter weather makes it a perfect home for potholes.