Pothole Repair

It’s the middle of winter. You’re facing below freezing temperatures and you have received several complaints of a problematic pothole causing damages to vehicles on a well-traveled city road. Despite the cold weather, a repair must be made to avoid a costly insurance claim. Hot mix plants are shut down for the season, so cold mix must be used to make this repair. All cold mix is the same right? You head to the yard and your crew either picks up a bag or loads up the back of a truck with bulk material. You expect it to be so stiff you need to plunge your shovel in with all your might. Instead, you find that your shovel sinks right in and you are able to scoop out the required amount with ease. You wonder to yourself “Why is this?”. The answer is because it’s UPM®.

The Continental United States experiences varying temperatures from -70º F to 134º F annually.1 (NOAA National Climatic Data Center). To use a “one-size fits all” approach to cold mix design simply doesn’t work. UNIQUE® Paving Materials Corp. has been seasonally and regionally adjusting their cold mix since 1959.

United States Temperatures

On November 11th, 2013, the difference this adjustment in mix design was demonstrated at a breakfast seminar in Buffalo, New York. Approximately 30 local road superintendents and maintenance supervisors attended. Tony Guizzotti, local Account Executive and Don Koehler, Vice President of Business Development, were hosting the breakfast meeting. The outside temperature was approximately 27º F.

The main driveway next to the seminar facilities was the perfect location to demonstrate the various grades of UPM® Permanent Pavement Repair Material, and why proper seasonal selection is so important. Four bags of UPM® Winter, a ½ pail from a UPM® bulk pile and 2 bags of Spring Fall were used. Loose debris was swept from the repairs using a STIFFWITCH® broom, specifically designed by UNIQUE® for road repair.

Pavement Repair

Each repair was approx. 3” deep. Compaction is key for UPM® repairs, and proper compaction requires installation in lifts for repairs deeper than 2”. The first four bags installed were Winter grade, demonstrating the ease of installation and workability. The size of the repair required an additional two bags. Spring/Fall grade was used to demonstrate defenses in workability. An additional 25 pounds of Winter was brought from a regional bulk pile and used to complete the repair.

Winter grade UPM® is designed for 40º F and below; Spring/Fall for 40º to 60º F. The differences in grade and workability were noticeable during installation. Those present saw how the Spring/Fall material was stiffer and while it still filled the pothole, more effort was required. The vibratory tamper easily compacted all material.

To achieve permanent performance for the specific seasonal grade produced, each UPM® production relies on a precisely engineered design and job mix formula and is supervised by a UNIQUE® representative. A properly designed and produced cold mix is a cold mix that will perform.

While many competitors claim to have a high-performance cold mix, UPM® is the only one that guarantees in writing that, when properly applied, it will outlast the surrounding pavement. In fact, UPM® was used as the standard in the Strategic Highway Research.

Program (SHRP) study on pothole repair. The study found that “The cost of patching the same potholes over and over because of poor-quality material quickly offsets the savings from purchasing a less expensive cold mix.”(SHPR-H-353, pg. 78).

The conventional cold mix is routinely considered as a band-aide approach, until the hot mix plants open. Seasonal adjustments, as well as proper mix design allow any repair made with UPM® to be permanent. UNIQUE® maintains a national directory or repairs to prove the permanence of UPM®. The repairs made at this demonstration will be added and monitored for follow-up.

For more information on UPM® and other UNIQUE® products, contact Tony Guizzotti at 585-944-6660 or UNIQUE’s Corporate Office at 800-441-4880.