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Niagara Falls Department of Public Works Director David Kinney couldn’t stop smiling.

Watching a $300,000 machine known as the Pothole Killer fill defect after defect in a matter of minutes Wednesday along Buffalo Avenue, Kinney contemplated what his department could do with such a weapon.

Scott Kleiger, operations officer for Patch Management of Morrisville, Pa., provided Kinney and other city officials with a 90 minute demonstration on what the Pothole Killer could do. Beginning at the corner of Hyde Park Boulevard and Buffalo Avenue, the one man operation quickly cleaned out existing potholes before filling them up with hot patch material and crowning them with dry rocks. The machine averaged a pothole per minute, completing the work more than four times faster than the city’s current pace, Kinney said.

“We want to give you a product and a procedure that’s more superior than what you’ve had,” Kleiger told onlookers, which included Mayor Paul Dyster and Councilman Steve Fournier. “We offer a performance based program.”

Two years ago, the city spent $127,000 on Pro Patch pothole repair and recycling machines, deeming the combination the answer to the thousands of holes riddling streets. The machines were meant to allow workers to fill potholes 12 months a year with hot patch material, but hasn’t gotten the results officials had hoped.

While the Pro Patch machine itself has remained in good working order, the recycling machine broke down numerous times over the winter and prevented the city from making hot material. Pro Patch has still been used to fix potholes with cold material, a system that doesn’t seal the hole properly and usually comes up within a couple of weeks when there’s inclement weather.

It also takes longer to fill each pothole properly and involves more workers, Kinney said.

“Pro Patch was never going to fill a lot of potholes up quickly,” he said. “We always want to look at new technology and equipment to do things faster, better and cheaper.”

City officials are hopeful the Pothole Killer could be the new “answer.”

During his presentation, Kleiger said the machine is valued at $300,000, but is not for sale. Instead, his company offers leasing options that could range from a few months to year round depending on a city’s need and budget. The package includes any maintenance, upgrades and materials needed. Clients also can opt to have a professional from Patch Management operate the machine or a trained city worker.

While cost estimates weren’t discussed Wednesday, Kleiger said the state of New York is a client and pays $23,000 a month to lease several Pothole Killer trucks throughout the year. Niagara Falls would not be able to afford that level, but Fournier said he would at least like to see a machine leased this summer to do a “blitz on city potholes.”

“We’re really behind and could use this machine to wipe out a lot of potholes in a short amount of time,” Fournier said, adding the service wouldn’t eliminate the need for the Pro Patch machine.

Dyster agreed a blitz would be a good idea and said there’s room in the city budget to make it happen.

“This is our No. 1 issue in the city,” Dyster said. “I don’t think you’re going to reach a point where you’re putting too much time and effort on pothole repair.”

Officials are expected to discuss the possibilities with Kleiger further in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, Councilman Chris Robins said it’s too early to dub the Pothole Killer a success.

“I don’t think you can make a judgment until you come back to this spot in a month and see how their work is holding up,” he said as the machine finished up its demonstration on Buffalo Avenue.
adidas predator x A killer on the streets