FARGO — Fargo's Street Department now can fill those nasty and never-ending potholes on city streets much earlier in the spring and later in the fall.
The city has purchased for $18,900 a piece of equipment called "Hot Patch" that heats asphalt patching material and fits into the back of a one-ton pickup truck, said Public Works Services Manager Paul Fiechtner.
The Hot Patch heats the material to room temperature and gives street department workers a better option for fighting potholes in colder weather.
The department previously had to use a cold-patch method that public works supervisor Lee Anderson said is like working with stone. Workers would sometimes have to put the frozen bags of asphalt mix in the pickup cab to warm it up.
"It's another tool for us," Anderson said in explaining that the potholes, especially on older streets, never go away.
In past years, the department didn't typically have access to hot filling material until about May 1, when contracting firms would open up their asphalt plant operations.
The city has equipment for recycling older asphalt but it is more efficient in the warmer months.
Anderson said workers have used the Hot Patch for about a month so far, giving them a jump on the pothole filling process.
The city uses about 5,000 pounds of mix a day for holes when operations are running, he said.
Although most of the winter was mild, Anderson said the thaw and freeze conditions that cause many potholes are still a problem this spring, especially on joints in concrete streets.
Residents can go to the city's website or use the FargoOne app to fill out a pothole report form. FargoOne features a map where residents can pinpoint the location. Residents receive a notification when the pothole is filled.
The Street Department also takes pothole reports by phone at 701-241-1453. Potholes on the city's interstate highways are handled by the North Dakota Department of Transportation, which can be reached at 701-239-8900.