Next to traffic, potholes are probably the most troublesome aspects of driving in California. Not only can they cause serious vehicle damage, but they also cost cities thousands of dollars in repairs each year. But with the recent launching of the California office of Heatwurx and it subsidiary, Dr. Pave in Gardena, these asphalt-related problems may become easier and cheaper to fix.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Pave
Existing pavement is heated and combined with recycled materials and a polymer hardening agent, then compacted into place to form a seamless repair.

“Heatwurx offers a way to restore road infrastructure with a sense of permanency without enormous expense,’ says Dave Dworsky, CEO of Heatwurx. “Once the construction industry understands the capabilities of this product, I think it will offer them a more effective and efficient way to repair and restore asphalt.

The Greenwood Village, Colo.-based company uses recently patented technology to repair potholes by heating the surrounding top 2 to 4 inches of asphalt to 350 degrees with an infrared heater. Once the existing pavement is "melted," it is combined with recycled materials and a polymer hardening agent, then mixed, tilled and compacted into place to form a seamless repair with no ability for water to penetrate the repair and cause failure, says Dworsky.

"We are creating new asphalt onsite; it's like a portable batch plant," he says.

Dworsky says his firm's repair process, which has a treatment life of six to 15 years, normally takes 30 minutes and only a couple workers, while a traditional "saw, cut and remove process takes probably about two or three times as long, requires four or five people, and does not provide a seamless repair."

And as an added bonus, Dworsky says his company warranties their work for three years, where as a traditional repair warranty is only 12 months.

Since setting up a California office, Heatwurx and Dr. Pave has secured contracts from 15 municipal projects, including the cities of Arcadia, Long Beach, San Pedro, Colton, San Bernardino and Redlands.

In Redlands, they put the finishing touches on a water-system upgrade, repairing 30 sections of pavement on Dexter Street after an update to below-grade water pipes. Dworsky says Heatwurx' subsidiary company, Dr. Pave, used a 30-sq-ft restoration heater to repair the damaged asphalt sections.

Bassam Alzammar, Redlands water superintendent, says his city is always looking for "new and innovative ways to improve" its utility system. Alzammar, who heard about Heatwurx from the nearby city of Colton, says he was surprised at the quality of the "seamless patch repair and final finished product."

Besides working with cities, Dworsky says Heatwurx has recently performed demos for Caltrans and is currently submitting specifications to the agency and he hopes to hear back from them sometime this year. As he looks ahead he says the biggest challenge facing his company is "getting the word out" because they are so new.

"It's an education process, but “95% of the roads and parking lots in the US are asphalt, so there will always potholes and problems with asphalt will always be around in the future.”