Money Watchers: New tool in pothole repair

Nobody likes potholes.

They can do a number on your car, and they can do a number on city and state budgets when it comes to fixing them.

"No two potholes are the same. One is half a shovel full, one is half a truck full," said Bill Bombard of the Providence Public Works.

The city of Providence has spent $45,000 this winter repairing potholes.

The city doesn't have a line item specific for potholes, but instead for all of the supplies and hours that go into fixing them.

And so far, the head of the department says they are within their budget.

"We're going to keep repairing potholes. As long as they're out there, we're going to be fixing them," Bombard said.

Last year, the state took a new, proactive approach to save money while fixing potholes this year. It has invested in 14 hot boxes which are designed to keep asphalt hot as crews are in transit for repairs.

Each hotbox costs $15,000.

"Those have proven to be very effective. A small capital investment, but they really helped us to save on materials so our crews can continue to go to additional potholes if they should be out there rather than visiting the same ones over and over again," said Joe Baker of the state Department of Transportation.

The city of Providence is looking into purchasing hot boxes in the future.

"We've looked into those. We've gotten some prices that the state has paid and we've talked about doing it. It's a worthwhile investment," Bombard said.