Davenport Crews Find New Ways to Fix Streets - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Crews Find New Ways to Fix Streets

Posted: Updated: Jun 05, 2014 11:32 PM
Potholes, crack and bumps in the road are a big problem every year. And every year, crews spend hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars fixing them. But this year, Davenport crews are trying something different.  

Public Works Director Mike Clarke tells us, "We challenged our work force and all of their hundreds of years of experience. We said, guys, what can we do differently this year to try to stretch our resources farther and fix more streets for less cost." He challenged them to find an alternative to traditional fixes like concrete patches, which can be time-consuming and expensive. "So you saw-cut out about four feet on either side of the crack. You drill in reinforcing steel rods and repair the sub-base of gravel, and place the new concrete patch on top of all that."

But on 37th Street, crews are cutting out smaller areas, repairing the sub base differently and finding they don't need reinforcing bars. And they're doing the work like more of a production line. "The first team is saw-cutting. The second team is removing. The third team is shaping. The fourth team is farming. So they're just rolling through a process," Clarke says. Or they're not cutting as far down, instead grinding the surface away. "We're not cutting out the full-depth patch. We're just grinding out about the top 1/2 and then blowing out the remainder of the crack and filling that full of material, and then coming back with a surface seal on top of that."

He says potholes also, are getting a fresh approach. It's one he hopes leads to a permanent fix. "You have to cut away the old material to the point where you're at solid material. You have to essentially reheat or tack-coat that surface, and bring in hot asphalt at the appropriate temperature so that you can compact it, and thereby not having a seam between the old asphalt and the new asphalt." No water in the seam means no expansion during the freeze-thaw cycle, and no way for a pothole to be created. 

Drivers tell us it sounds like a good idea, something many say they hope pans out. Clarke is hopeful too, hoping to give drivers in Davenport a smoother ride. "Both of these techniques are going on. We're gonna see how they do, learn our lessons along the way and continue to see what we can do for the city."

He says crews actually came up with and tested these techniques at streets behind the Public Works building. But 37th Street, with a series of cracks lets them test their work on a real, concrete, city street and really get the production line going. Meantime, he says he's increased the number of crack-sealing crews working on other, asphalt streets from one to four, telling us that's the best way to preserve those and prevent problems down the road. And at this point, Clarke says crews are still working their way through the project, so he can't yet compare the costs and expenses of this system against a traditional full-depth patch.
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