Nfld. & Labrador

Pothole fix holding up year later, as Deer Lake man checks experiment

Mike Goosney is daring to do more than just dream of the day when constantly repairing potholes is a thing of the past.

It's so far, so good with Mike Goosney's pilot project

Mike Goosney filled the pothole on the left with his unique formula a year ago. He says the one on the right has been re-filled three times in the same timeframe. (Mike Goosney/Twitter)

It's a dream of many motorists, rumbling across the pockmarked roads of Newfoundland and Labrador: a pothole-free province — a dream one Deer Lake man is trying to turn into reality.

"Nobody likes a pothole," observed Mike Goosney, summing up the ire of just about everyone who's swerved at the last second and ended up with a flat tire anyway.

A plumber-pipefitter by trade, as well as a former Labrador City councillor, thinking about public infrastructure comes naturally to Goosney.

Tired of seeing a vicious cycle of potholes being repaired only to crater again, he began experimenting with a fix that lasts.

Mike Goosney is a plumber-pipefitter, and also deputy mayor of Deer Lake. (CBC)

Last June, he took his study to the streets of Deer Lake, filling three different potholes with his innovative idea. 

A year later, things are looking good.

"All three are holding up solid," he told CBC Radio's Corner Brook Morning Show.

The crucial difference

Potholes are traditionally topped up with a simple asphalt mix and then driven on again, but Goosney saw that wasn't cutting it when it comes to enduring the province's constant freeze-and-thaw cycles.

He compares the top-up fix to filling a disposable coffee cup with water, putting the plastic lid on, and sticking it in the freezer: "it's going to pop. The top is definitely going to come off."

Instead, Goosney set about trying to come up with a way to allow for potholes to expand.

For his three experimental potholes, he laid perforated plastic pipes on the bottom, with the number of holes and length of pipe customized to each pothole, allowing for drainage.

Then, he put asphalt mixes on top: two holes used the same mix as the town of Deer Lake, and a third, in the town's Tim Horton's parking lot, got a special "extra ingredient" that he's so far keeping secret.

"The one I did at Tim Horton's is currently solid like the day we put it," he said.

"I think we're definitely on to something here."

Watch out, pothole: your days might be numbered. (Cecil Haire/CBC)

Goosney, who since starting the study has been elected deputy mayor of Deer Lake, has been monitoring his repairs for the past year.

 He noted other, traditionally-filled potholes have been repaired three or even four times in the same time span, while he has had to do no touch-ups to his.

He estimated his fix costs about an extra $2 per pothole, and also requires square-edging the hole before filling it, which is slightly more work.

"If you just pull up and dump asphalt into the pothole, it's highly unlikely to last as long as if you square edge it," he said.

Goosney said he'll continue to monitor his potholes and is hoping to expand his efforts to other municipalities if success continues.

"I did three. I'd like to do 3,000. Hopefully in the future, that's where we'll go with it."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from the Corner Brook Morning Show