* Hardware selling "Road Rescue Asphalt Repair” product
* Says one bag can fix potholes seven metres squared
* Works Ministry advises citizens not to fix potholes on their own
* Promises technical help under certain circumstances
Communities fed-up with poor road conditions may be able do the repairs themselves if they are prepared to purchase a new product on the market and get approval from the relevant government agency.
Local hardware Johnny Q is offering its “Road Rescue Asphalt Repair” product which it said can permanently repair holes in asphalt and concrete.
However, Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan told the Business Guardian that while his ministry is willing to provide technical assistance to those wanting to fix potholes, he warned citizens must first get permission from the authorities.
“Any one wishing to address a pothole should obtain approval from the relevant agency; be it the Minister of Works and Transport, regional corporation or the Ministry of Agriculture,” Sinanan said.
He explained that more harm than good may be done if people took matters into their own hands to fix roads.
“If addressed in the wrong way it can damage the roadway,” the Minister said.
On the other hand, if a private entity is desirous of fixing an area, the ministry generally is willing to provide technical input, once it is an area under its jurisdiction, Sinanan said.
Regarding the product itself, the Works Minister said engineers would have to review to ascertain its suitability.
During an interview with the Business Guardian in May, Sinanan said his ministry was not at fault for the poor state of the country’s roads, noting that the problems lie with WASA and local government bodies.
The issue, he explained, stems from a disconnect between the maintenance and repair of the roads.
It is widely believed his ministry is responsible for the upkeep of roads all across the country, but the minister stressed his remit remained with major road arteries such as the various highways and the Priority Bus Route.
The remainder of the roads Sinanan said are the responsibility of local government bodies or regional corporations.
“The big challenge with potholes in Trinidad, I would say is number one is WASA, and two a major part of the circle is really the regional corporations, to get their people on board to start to work. We have actually reached out to them to give them the material free of charge. The ministry will buy the material, they will put their teams in, but again we were trying to get them on board with that, we were really not too successful in getting them on board. But we will continue to push on for that,” Sinanan had said.
According to the Johnny Q’s site, Road Rescue Asphalt Repair is available at $290 per bag and weighs 50 lbs.
One bag is supposed to repair a site seven square feet and is reportedly “mined and used by state, military, and industrial leaders” and has zero VOC (volatile organic compounds, commonly referred to paints, paint strippers and other solvents and considered to be among the largest sources of indoor volatile organic compounds.
Road Rescue Asphalt Repair is also said to be natural asphalt and processed in the USA, according to the site.
Further, the product promises not to stain or ruin clothes, “unlike oily manufactured asphalts,” and it can be installed during “any weather and at any temperature; wet, dry, hot, or cold.”
Further, there’s no special tools are required.
“It is dry to the touch; has no additives, glues, or binders and it’s simply a five-minute application. Just sweep, fill, and drive,” the site added.
Christopher Joseph, senior supervisor for the Johnny Q Division at Ariapita Avenue, described the product as “asphalt base; basically like pitch.
“So, it will last a long while. But is also depends on the amount of traffic going on at the area,” Joseph said.
And since it was first introduced to the market two weeks ago, Joseph said the response has been quite good.
“When customers come in and they see the product they have been purchasing it. Or when they go on our site they would call to see it we have it and they come to purchase it,” Joseph said, adding that there have also been numerous calls from people enquiring about the item.
And based on this response he said it could perhaps mean that people maybe seeking to do road repairs in their communities themselves.
But is Road Rescue Asphalt Repair truly viable?
President of the T&T Contractors’ Association Glenn Mahabirsingh said while it can be used for potholes, it however, will bring only temporary relief as this depends on the depth and size of the hole.
“Some of the problems of the roads are not necessarily surface issues. There may be a base or an underlying condition like a water leak and therefore, the base may need strengthening which will require more than asphalt.
“Hence, asphalt is really part of the application. If you simply put asphalt it may fail. There’s more to it when it comes to repairing a pothole,” Mahabirsingh explained.
He said asphalt surfacing on minor roads takes into consideration two to three inches but sometimes potholes may even be deeper.
“In that case aggregate base improvement has to be done first and then put asphalt on it,” he added.
But Mahabirsingh agreed that the product is convenient as it allows the average home-owner the ease of having “asphalt in a bag.”
“If homeowners need a spot repair for their driveway for instance, this item can be purchased off the shelf and applied by any non-craft or non-technical person. For domestic repairs it is innovative,” Mahabirsingh said as he described the product as a “do-it-yourself repair measure.”
The Business Guardian also reached out to former director of Highways for the Ministry of Works and Transport Roger Ganesh who said he used a similar product and could vouch for its effectiveness in certain instances.
“I’m familiar with such products, however, make sure it’s not made in China. It’s ideal for small jobs and does not requires manual labour and compaction equipment but small hand tools,” Ganesh said.
But he said the price is a drawback as it’s too costly.
“A very good product. I use to buy it from an agent here years ago but that price too expensive,” he said.
On whether it could be used to fix potholes he explained that there are some limitations.
“It’s good enough for small to medium depth pot holes only, not the craters on some of our roads. Deeper holes require a combination crush stone first and then the asphalt about two inches minimum,” he added.