The new hot box will keep asphalt at the right temperatures for pothole repairs. The city got the equipment last week.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Department of Public Works has received two new machines that will provide more efficient asphalt distribution to keep up with the city's many potholes.
Public Services Superintendent Timothy Lescarbeau said the new Hot Box and the Asphalt Recycler will greatly improve blacktopping in the city as well as save money.
"The recycler takes used asphalt … and reheats it; we throw some rejuvenator in it so we have our own hot mix basically," Lescarbeau said. "In the hot box you put the mix in, and there is a burner in it that keeps the asphalt hot."
With the closing of the Lane Construction Hot Mix Asphalt Plant in Adams last year, North Adams has been purchasing hot mix from Pittsfield. Lescarbeau said they would lose 20 to 30 percent of the asphalt because it would cool down between the nearly hour drive and the application.
"We have to buy eight tons to get five tons out of it because it cools down and starts to crust up," he said. "This holds four tons, and we can keep it in there for up to three to four days and it will stay hot."
Lescarbeau said even if the hot mix cools down, crews now have the capability to reheat it themselves.
The Hot Box and half of the Asphalt Recycler were purchased with the $66,000 the city received from the state from the one-time emergency pothole repair money. The state released $30 million to help municipalities throughout the state with road repairs after the recent winter. The rest of the money was taken from the city’s Chapter 90 funds.
Lescarbeau said the machines have already saved the city money in the short time they have been in possession. He said they have steadily been using the hot box machine to repair the city’s many potholes.
"We have had it a week and it has already saved us some money," he said. "We are still trying to catch up on potholes and what is nice right now I can use less guys; I can send two to three guys out instead of 4 to 5 so it is a labor saver."
He said the machine is even useful in the winter and allows the DPW to use hot mix instead of cold patch.
"We don't have to use cold patch anymore. We can put the hot patch in and it's permanent; the problem with the cold patch is when it rains, it's gone," he said.
He added the machines even can help with water main breaks that have been ample throughout the city lately.
"We can fix the holes when [water main breaks] happen now," he said. "Before we had to put the cold patch in and hope it lasted and fix it when we have warm weather and hot mix; now we can just fix it and it's done."