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New technology could help eliminate and prevent potholes


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MORGANTOWN — Drivers could see the end of potholes with the implementation of “The Pothole Terminator.”

“Everybody has a lot of potholes. It’s a big problem all over the country,” said Civil Engineer Sam Bonasso.  “It’s caused by water and that’s the problem.

Bonasso, an adjunct civil engineering professor at WVU spoke last week  on WAJR’s Morgantown AM. He has collaborated with WVU civil engineering students to research the causes of potholes and to offer a hopefully permanent solution — The Pothole Terminator, an American Society of Civil Engineering award-winning technology.

Bonasso said when pavement gets wet, the compacted material loses its strength and that causes the roads to slip away or create holes known as potholes and sinkholes.

Bonasso’s invention aims to eliminate this problem with “mechanical concrete,” a cylinder filled with limestone that solidifies when poured into the hole.

“When that gets wet it doesn’t lose its strength,” he said. “See, that’s the point about it, it stays there.”

Bonasso’s invention takes care of another problem.

According to Bonasso, 300 million tires are sent to landfills every year in the U.S. — part of a global number of 1.4 billion tires.

The Pothole Terminator recycles waste tires and uses them as the cylinders, because although waste tires might not hold air, they are still strong enough to use in construction.

“It’s a sustainable initiative,” he said. “That’s the idea.”

Based on a recent study by AAA, drivers in the United States spend over $3 billion annually on car repairs due to potholes.

The Pothole Terminator costs $12 per square foot to use.

Bonasso said this method has been used on University Town Centre Drive in Morgantown that previously required repairs semi-annually. It has now been more than a year since this technique has been in place and the road is still in-tact, needing no repairs.

“Any pothole that has to be repaired more than twice a year should use this technique to solve it,” Bonasso said. “It’ll eliminate that repair.”

The Pothole Terminator has also been used on roads in Maidsville, with repairs lasting for more than 10 years.

“After you’ve fixed it twice then you can afford to do this,” Bonasso said. “Spend $12 a square foot and get it fixed properly.”

According to Bonasso, the Pothole Terminator is something that can be used globally to eliminate potholes and reduce waste. Currently, engineers in South Africa are working to get the technique in place there.

The research project done by the WVU civil engineering students was sent to the Department of Highways for review.

“They’ve got it now,” Bonasso said. “They’ve got a research project that shows they can hang their hat on it and I think they’ll be using it soon.”


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