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Fighting potholes with fire in Shreveport

December 2017 | KTBS

It's the latest weapon in the fight against rough roads in the city of Shreveport -- using extreme heat. It could be showing up at a pothole near you soon.

"We're excited! This is one where we don't have to worry about the potholes coming up again after it rains, or after we have a flash flood or we have a really hot summer or a really cold winter," said Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler.

It's Shreveport's infrared pothole repair truck. The combination of fire and heat is what does the work.

"What this does, is it heats the asphalt to the point we can smooth it and then put hot asphalt in there and then it bonds. This patch this time will last two to three years," said Mike Wood, Shreveport's Public Works director.

Why is the city so confident that these repairs will last two or three years?

"Before we bought it, we've already tested it in certain areas," said Mayor Tyler.

Districts F, G and the fairgrounds area got the test runs.

"We tried to pick a really high traffic area. So we had him come out and he demonstrated it. We loved what it was doing and the way it was working. That particular patch has been there for two years now and its shown no signs of wear," said Wood.

The machine was purchased from a company in Crowley for just under $200,000. That money came out the 2017 budget.

"It's really very cost effective, because it allows us to reuse the asphalt that's already in place. So you don't have to purchase that, you know the price of asphalt can vary dramatically and so being able to reuse what's there is both more economically friendly and less wasteful. I allows us to that, the repairs last longer and it's faster," said Councilman Jeff Everson.

On average, the city expects to be able to fix a pothole, depending on the size, in about 20 minutes. The crew will consist of three to four people and they plan on having it out fixing holes everyday.

They don't know how many potholes they'll be able to fix in a day, a week, a month, or a year at this point.

But if things go well, "We're looking to see how successful it is and it may be something that really has the economic benefit and the long lasting repairs that we expect it will, then we'll certainly be looking for future ones to come," said Everson.

Officials onsite estimated they will use about one-fifth of the amount of new asphalt than they've needed in the past to repair a pothole.

And if you'd like to check out the one repaired in this story you can find it at 825 Ockley.

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