After this year’s brutal winter, Philadelphia officials report they are on pace to patch up a record number of potholes in city streets, but one city councilman thinks there is another way: using infrared heat.
“We’re aware of the technology, but we’re not using it,” City Councilman David Oh told Philadelphia Magazine. “So we’re dealing with higher costs, less efficiency, more inconvenience and more costs total when you consider flat tires.”
If the city were to look into this technology, it would not be the first. Parts of New Jersey, London and Asia have reportedly adopted it. According to Oh, the infrared technology would heat up the entire area surrounding the pothole so that the asphalt melts, then a worker would put hot asphalt into the hole. The two asphalts bond with the surface to become a permanent seal.
Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration said it already uses a piece of equipment called the “pothole killer,” which reportedly works faster than infrared technology. Oh said that city officials are still open to his idea, though, and he will continue to push for the use of infrared to address the city’s pothole problem.
“Particularly as we get more bicycle riders and scooter riders in Philadelphia, the potholes become a greater danger,” Oh said.