Safety is in the numbers for pothole patching crews

If a main street, highway or expressway is in need of a pothole patching job, a crew of between six and 10 workers may be required to safely get the job done, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) in a March 29 Chicago Tribune report.

Although only two or three of the crew members may actually be patching the potholes, the others are needed to keep them safe from traffic, including extra staff to drive an arrow board sign, hold warning signs and drive a “blocker” truck, according to the Tribune report. An expressway may require 10 or more workers, and a road configuration — such as potholes on or near a curving exit ramp — may take more people working in trucks guiding traffic, the Tribune reports state transportation officials as saying.

For example, a seven-member IDOT pothole patching crew may include the following:

· Materials truck: One driver, carrying 4 to 6 tons of asphalt

· Two workers to shovel asphalt from the truck and into the holes on the road.

· One worker to tamp the asphalt down into the pothole.

· Blocker truck: One driver. This truck is usually driven by the crew chief and carries gear and crew members.

· One worker who directs and/or halts traffic using a slow/stop sign.

· Truck-mounted attenuator (TMA) truck: One driver. This crew members drives this truck with an arrrow board and TMA — a drvice design to absorb impact and redirect a vehicle in case of a collision — on the back.

Source: Chicago Tribune, March 29, Section 1, Page 4