In the latest round of Boston versus potholes, the city is bringing in the big guns: a Silly Putty-like material encased in portable plastic bags invented by college students. Shape-shifting goo that hardens instantly under pressure.
The innovative, eco-friendly pothole filling materials that the city will test over the next six months are more expensive than regular asphalt, but could help public works staff repair the craters more quickly than ever before.
“There’s a lot of work in materials science that can help us figure out how to make roads smoother for residents,” said Chris Osgood, cochairman of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, which recently introduced a pothole-
spotting smartphone app.
It’s a perpetual problem for public works officials: What to do with potholes that are discovered on nights or weekends, when asphalt plants are closed and there are no options to permanently fill them?
Elmo Baldassari, Boston’s deputy commissioner of public works, said officials are hoping two of the test products demonstrated during a press conference Thursday could help his staff permanently repair potholes on the fly, rather than putting in temporary fixes that must be replaced weeks or months later.
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