City Testing Silly Putty, ‘Green’ Material to Fill Potholes This Spring

Travis Crosby pours Aquaphalt into a pothole.

In an effort to “go green,” the city is testing three alternative pothole filling substances this spring: One, a silly-putty substance, two, a vegetable oil-based binder, and three, a 100 percent recyclable substance. 

“I expect our city to innovate constantly to better serve Bostonians” said Mayor Menino.  “Potholes are a major menace to drivers. We are conducting this pilot test because we believe that these innovative solutions may offer longer-lasting, more environmentally friendly solutions than traditional pothole filling materials.”

The city started a ramped up effort to target potholes last week. To date, nearly 1,000 potholes have been reported and filled since the campaign’s launch March 13, according to the city.  Over the next six months, the city says they will be tracking these various substances to evaluate them for longevity of the fix, easy of use, envionrmental benefits, cost, and other parameters. 

New Substances
The three materials used in Boston this spring are called Hole Patch, Aquaphalt, and UPM. 

Hole Patch utilizes a silly putty like material in a Kevlar bag that is placed in potholes. Workers place the bag in the pothole to make it temporarily safe for drivers, with the idea that they will return when weather conditions improve to make a permanent repair. 

The second material, aquaphalt, is a more eco-friendly solution. It contains a vegetable oil based binder, which contains no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), a contributor to air pollution in Boston. 

Finally, UPM is designed to focus on longevity of the repair, and it’s UPM is 100% recyclable and contains well below all VOC and other Massachusetts regulation limits.

Joanne Massaro, commissioner of Public Works in Boston, said the new substance trials show the city takes innovation seriously. 

“We always seek out ways to improve the services we deliver to Boston’s residents,” she said. “This pilot is a great opportunity to experiment with new solutions to make our roads smoother.”

Residents can report potholes using the Citizens Connect app, calling the mayor’s hotline at 617-635-4500, filing a request online, or tweeting to @NotifyBoston with the hashtag #spotholes.

Where do you see the biggest potholes in the South End? Tell us in the comments. 

SOUTH END PATCH: Facebook | Twitter | E-mail Updates

South End Patch