New ‘toy’ = smoother driving, better pothole repair

Todd Redman, storm water maintenance supervisor, makes a second pass on a strip of Martin Street with the new cold planer attachment.

Public Works puts cold planer attachment to use

COVINGTON, Ky. – Slowly and methodically, Todd Redman drove a Bobcat skid steer loader down Martin Street, the attachment on its front “grinding and chewing” asphalt with the efficiency of a rototiller breaking up soil.

With a fair amount of noise and a little mess, the City of Covington’s Public Works Department this week was trying out a new “toy.”

But the job at hand – the resurfacing of a one-block section of Martin Street – exemplifies only one use for the new, 40-inch cold planer delivered Monday.

The planer will also allow Public Works to repave alleys in Covington and – more notably – repair potholes in a way “that drivers won’t even be able to feel where the patch was,” Public Works Director Chris Warneford said.

“It’ll allow us to do fixes that are longer lasting, smoother, more efficient, and just better,” Warneford said. “This will be a big improvement over just dumping asphalt in a hole and tamping it down.”

One problem area in Warneford’s sights? Working with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to address the long stretch of torn-up pavement on Ky. 17 (Madison Pike) north of Latonia Terrace.

This week, however, the planer is being used to grind away old pavement on a one-block section of Martin between Scott Boulevard and Greenup Street, a several-day job that will turn a street that looked like the back of an alligator’s hide into a smooth and quiet driving surface.

The 40-inch planer is more than twice as wide as the 18-inch planer it replaces in Public Works’ arsenal.

“It’s a lot quicker, and the wider path makes it easier to mill a street at an even depth all the way across,” said John Purnell, supervisor of the Department’s Right-of-Way Division.

The City is tackling one side of the street at a time to keep it open to residents who live in that section of Martin, Purnell said. It’s expected to take a few days.

The street itself is 24 feet wide by 426 feet long, which means the new planer can mill half the street in just three to four strips, although each “strip” will require more than one pass.

With the new layer of asphalt to be applied 2½ inches thick (and compressed to 2 inches), the job will require about 160 tons of asphalt worth about $13,000, Purnell said.

“This is going to look pretty nice when we’re done,” he said.


For video of the new cold planer in action, see the City’s Facebook page, @covingtonkygov

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