The Ottumwa Courier


December 20, 2012

New heaters to help solve pothole problem on city streets

OTTUMWA — Potholes are nothing new in Ottumwa.

But two new heaters could begin to solve one of the most complained about aspects of the city.

The City Council approved the purchase of two ARS portable infrared heaters for the public works street department Tuesday night.

The purchase from Trans Iowa Equipment, LLC, of Ankeny, will cost $11,800.

They will be used in conjunction with the Falcon asphalt recycling hot patcher that was approved for purchase at the Dec. 4 council meeting.

The benefits of the heaters include more than three hours of heat time on 20 pounds of fuel, low BTU and fuel consumption at only 6 pounds per hour.

These units will allow reflective crack seams to be repaired and will be used to fill and repair mat failures. They are similar to the units the Iowa Department of Transportation uses for pavement heaves.

Public Works Director Larry Seals said these will be a new addition to the department’s street repair.

“This will take the ice out of the bottom of a pothole, heat the asphalt above 350 degrees and we’ll rake it out and put new material in,” Seals said. “We will offload material, not compact it, heat it, roll it in and blend it back together.”

Councilman Brian Morgan said this is more or less equivalent to the use of hot mix.

“It will be a lot better repair than the pre-mix we’re using,” Seals said. “That stuff, the price continues to go up, and you can use it cold, but it has problems with rutting.”

Seals said they’ll use the heaters to heat the mat, which will bond together like a new mat.

“This is one more tool in our toolbox,” Seals said. “It will repair them, I won’t say more efficiently, but better. The quality of repairs will go up.”

When potholes become filled with ice in the winter, public works has limited means to get the ice out, Seals said.

“We’ll put the mix in, which will hold until the ice thaws below it, but it pops out after that,” Seals said.

Councilman Bob Meyers said with the freezing and thawing that makes potholes such a common occurrence in the spring, these heaters will help solve the problem.

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