Potholes in Paradise-June 26, 2003

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I had the dubious privilege of being stuck in traffic today. The reason for the traffic jam was the City & County of Honolulu Pothole filling crew at work.

This was truly an inspirational sight to behold.


There were these two men, dressed in their reflective gear, each with a shovel in his hand. They were standing behind an extremely large dump truck. Each one very deliberately took a shovelful of asphalt, and expertly covered a hole with this asphalt.

Both men then proceeded to pat the asphalt down to fill the hole, and to smooth the surface. Shovels and shoes were masterfully utilized to accomplish this feat.

After finishing, the intrepid workers stepped back a few feet and admired their work. When they were certain their job was up to snuff, they loaded up their shovels and drove this very large dump truck down the street to the next set of holes.

Like magic, the traffic disappeared. As I drove past their work area, the sound of fresh asphalt hitting the bottom of my car made me cringe. Heaven only knows what the underside of my car looks like.

Do these workers, their supervisors or the City & County of Honolulu administrators really believe that these patches will still be in place after the next heavy rainfall? If they believe that, they also must also believe in the tooth fairy.

When I grew up on the U.S. mainland (granted, a long time ago), repair crews used “hot patches” to repair the roads. Their repairs stuck for years through some very severe weather. If you drove over one of these repairs, there were no sounds of anything striking the underside of your car. Has anybody in the City & County ever thought of using the “hot patch” technique?

Granted it is very old technology. However, training can be accomplished rather quickly and the tools required are simple and can be towed behind City & County dump trucks. This method also would ensure the same crews would not have to patch the same holes every few months. Using “Hot Patch” technology might even cut down on the number of employees doing this repetitive work. These workers could possibly be used for other work classifications.

Could it be that by using better “patching techniques” they may even save taxpayers some money? What a concept.

”’Jack Schneider, owner of JS Services and Honolulu resident, can be reached via email at:”’ mailto:jschn@lava.net