This winter’s weather pattern of temperatures continually fluctuating above and below freezing, along with recurring snow storms and rainfall, is producing a large number of potholes on state highways, which pose a risk for motorists.
“The frequent snow storms early in the winter, along with heavy rains recently, and severe swings in temperature have been particularly harsh on our roads this year,” Acting Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “Keeping New Jersey’s roads in good condition is a priority and NJDOT strives to repair potholes on state highways as quickly as possible. Therefore, we are launching the Department’s annual pothole campaign now instead of waiting for spring.”
To deal with potholes in the most aggressive and efficient manner, the Department will be allowing crews throughout the state to close travel lanes where necessary during daytime hours, including during peak travel times for priority repairs.
It is important to slow down in work zones so NJDOT crews can safely make repairs. New Jersey’s Move Over law requires motorists to move over if it is safe to do so when they approach an emergency or service vehicle stopped on the side of the road.
Where possible, crews will limit their daytime work hours to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., per standard protocol, and will try to avoid working in travel lanes carrying traffic in the peak direction during peak times. However, motorists might encounter maintenance crews making priority repairs any time of the day or night during this campaign.
In addition to the Department’s usual winter method of using cold-patch material for pothole repair, NJDOT is also using 11 state-of-the-art pothole-filling machines, which make a more durable repair than cold patch. The pothole-filling machine is a truck that can heat a mix of asphalt and gravel before injecting the mixture into the pothole. These machines require just one person to operate, with another worker operating a safety truck. Click here to see a video of a pothole-filling machine in action.
“The pothole-filling machines provide several advantages to the traditional ‘throw-and-go’ method of a crew shoveling a cold patch into a pothole,” Assistant Commissioner for Operations and Maintenance Andrew Tunnard said. “The pothole filling machines allow our crews to cover a larger area more quickly and safely because the worker doesn’t have to get out of the truck. The machines also save time and money by providing a more lasting repair.”
As the weather warms up and asphalt plants reopen, our crews will start to perform permanent patch operations on particularly problematic sections of roadway. This is more extensive work that includes milling and paving a small area of the road, and generally will be done overnight.
In the past five fiscal years (FY13 – FY17), NJDOT has repaired on average 218,745 potholes per year. So far in FY18 (July 1, 2017 – February 12, 2018), NJDOT has repaired more than 112,050 potholes, with the busiest pothole repair season just starting.
NJDOT will be using Variable Message Signs to alert motorists of the campaign and, to the extent possible, of lane closures that could result in temporary travel delays. Detailed current repair locations will be posted on a continual basis on www.511nj.org.
In addition to our crews monitoring and reporting potholes that need repair on state highways, we encourage motorists to report potholes as well. Motorists may call 1-800-POTHOLE or go online at www.nj.gov/transportation to a convenient form on our website to report potholes on state roads. To report potholes on county roads, contact the appropriate jurisdiction. The Department responds quickly, especially to reports of potholes that create safety concerns based on their size and location.