Metro Public Works uses infrared system to fill potholes

Metro Public Works uses infrared system to fill potholes (Image 1)

Metro Public Works has found a new way to fix an old problem, using infrared technology to repair potholes.

Four truck crews are responsible for repairing potholes year-round on 5,700 lanes miles Metro Nashville Davidson County.

“These guys work extremely hard,” said Public Works spokesperson Jenna Smith. “Just in the past twelve months we've had over 750 requests for potholes. Those requests are filled generally within one to two business days.”

On Wednesday, Nashville's News 2 caught up with a crew repairing a series of potholes on Delaware Avenue in Madison.

“We were using a hot mix, which is a combo of oil, stone, and sand mixed together,” said Don Allen, technical specialist and supervisor with Metro Public Works.

The hot mix goes into the truck at 360 degrees, and comes out slightly cooler at 220 degrees. The mix is then shoveled, combed, and compacted for a patch that will last six to 12 months.

The hot mix is preferred over the cold mix that is used when asphalt plants shutdown for the winter and usually lasts one to two weeks.

However, new technology now available surpasses the quality of the hot mix and offers a smoother, more permanent patch.

Using infrared heating systems, crews heat the pavement to prepare the area for the fix. An infrared machine then adds and heats a mix of new asphalt and old blacktop to create a seamless patch.

“A [hot mix] patch will last six months possibly, depending on the amount of traffic [and] the severity of the hole,” Allen said. “And an infrared patch, you can't hardly tell that it was done, I mean, other than there's a dark spot, and it's a tighter mixture.”

Metro Public Works continues to work out the details for infrared technology use. It will not replace hot or cold mix, but it will reduce the amount of repairs needed on the roads that receive infrared repairs.

To report a pothole on a metropolitan roadway, call 311 or 615-862-8750 or submit a repair request form online at

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