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June 23, 2021

County buys a second one-man pothole machine

County supervisors this week approved the purchase of a second, one-man pothole machine designed to more effectively and more efficiently repair roads with less manpower.
The $220,000 purchase will be funded by redirecting money targeted to purchase a bucket truck as well as reducing the budget for another planned vehicle acquisition.
The purchase, said Public Works Administrator Steve Wittry, “cements our policy to repair roads as quickly as we can. In areas of the hinterlands, one person can patch potholes. This is a step away from the three-man crews that used to do cold-mix patches” of roadways.
Wittry told the board that the cost of having one employee use the one-man pothole machine was about the same as the cost of having a larger crew patch a hole the traditional way – plus, it will free up those other two workers for other projects.
“We’re getting more potholes fixed and their staying together longer,” Wittry said, noting that the pothole machine the county now owns is already on the road five days a week.
“We have a lot of infrastructure that is aging,” he said. “This will allow us to get to potholes quicker.”
Supervisor Margie Barrios, who said the one-man pothole machine has repaired potholes on a road near her home, sung the praises of the machine.
“It’s really evident that the machine is effective,” she said. “It’s been very successful.”
Wittry said he hopes that adding a second one-man pothole machine to the county’s road repair arsenal will help alleviate a backlog of repair projects. He also said that the county may “revisit” talks about sharing the machine with the cities of Hollister and San Juan Bautista.
The purchase was approved by a 4-0 vote, with Supervisor Anthony Botelho absent.

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