By Alyssa Gautieri
Now that winter is behind us, many people may notice their roads have some extra bumps when driving or riding a bike through the roads in their communities. A pothole, which is a depression in road surface, in a parking lot or on side street can often lead to driving and biking accidents, and result in injuries within a community association. Potholes also tend to lower the curb appeal of a community association, so even the sight of a pothole is likely to cause angst and irritation among community members.
For community managers and board members, it is important to maintain upkeep to ensure that members feel both safe and happy within their community. So what can boards and managers do about these potholes? Whether it is taking actions to prevent the creation of potholes or exploring the best methods for fixing an existing pothole, Michael Macchione — CEO of Frank Macchione Construction Paving Plus, which is in Rochelle Park, New Jersey gave us some answers to that question.
Michael Macchione first noted that most potholes are created during the winter months, yet the damage may often not be revealed until spring. “Potholes are caused when water seeps into pavement and asphalt cracks. Water expands beneath the pavement when there are freezing temperatures, and pushes the pavement up. As temperatures rise, the ground returns to normal, which can create a void between the pavement and the ground below,” he explained. Later, when vehicles drive over a weak area, the pavement surface will soon show a pothole.
Managers and board members should pay attention to telltale signs to prevent potential potholes, such as cracks and small deteriorated areas. “The quicker these are addressed, the less of a chance for them to develop,” Michael Macchione noted. Associations should fill cracks to keep moisture out from under the pavement, and then seal the area to protect asphalt surfaces against gasoline, oil, salt, water and the sun. Michael Macchione also emphasized that a checkup should be done at minimum twice a year, once at the beginning of spring and once before the winter.
In terms of repair, Michael Macchione recommended a temporary solution during cold months. “The most common temporary repair is filling the area with cold patch asphalt material. We have invested in a specific infrared patch truck equipped with a hot box unit to keep asphalt at temperatures from when it was received at the asphalt plant. By using hot versus cold, the patch will last longer,” he explained.
Depending upon existing conditions, there are two scopes of permanent repair, said Michael Macchione, who noted that permanent repair is often reserved for spring. The first repair is “asphalt infrared restoration, which will cause a seamless repair letting no water to enter beneath the patch,” he explained. “This method is to reheat the area and recycle existing material by scarifying and adding rejuvenator to the old material. New material will be added as needed and fully compacted with a vibratory roller to receive high traffic.”
In more severe cases, the area can be milled or saw-cut and removed to the needed depth. “Depending on depth, a base course of asphalt and a top course of asphalt will be installed fully compacted with high vibratory rollers. After the completion of this method the surrounding edges will be sealed to prevent water entry,” Michael Macchione explained.
In terms of delays on pothole projects, Michael Macchione noted “weather is the biggest battle we fight. Rain and winter months can cause delays in our schedule.”
For a property manager or board member seeking a proper quote from a contractor, Michael Macchione advised “the less quotes the less confusion.” He added, “find yourself a few qualified contractors with a good reputation and have them give their opinion. Providing aerial shots and pictures with the proposal will confirm the areas that will be serviced. For large scopes of work, having an engineer recommendation is always a plus. This will help guide both parties in the right direction. Coming up with a spec will have contractors bid accordingly. This will keep pricing and ideas for this specific project consistent.”
When comparing contractors, Michael Macchione said it is important to note the scope of work and method of repair — such as inches of stone and asphalt, and the number of days and hours of work.