Suffredin- Changing County Government  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.


Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

  The Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.

County adds new weapon to pothole-repair arsenal
Asphalt composite using old tires now part of the mix

Monday, March 26, 2012
Chicago Tribune
by Jon Hilkevitch

Despite this month's record-setting warm weather, pothole crews in the Chicago area are still mostly limited to using marginally effective cold-patch mixtures to repair roads until the hot-asphalt plants open for the construction season.

But there is one exception. The Cook County Highway Department is experimenting with a new technology that brings a small hot-asphalt factory directly to potholes onboard a specialized truck. Mini-batches of steaming hot pavement filler are mixed on the spot and poured into the holes.

County crews were out last week on a badly potholed stretch of Kedzie Avenue in south suburban Robbins putting the technology, which is called PelletPATCH and uses recycled tires, to the test.

"In the long run, we are hoping to save on labor costs because you won't have to go back repeatedly to fill the same potholes," Dave Sekula, acting supervisor in the Highway Department's District 5, said while overseeing a crew of four road repairmen, one laborer and one heavy equipment operator.

Officials are hopeful that PelletPATCH produces better density and bonding than the cold patches traditionally used in winter and that it will improve the chances the fixes won't pop out when vehicles pass over them.

The results of the county's approximately $47,000 pilot project won't be known until it's seen how well the repairs hold up over the summer and next winter, Cook County Highway Superintendent John Yonan said.

"This product has been demonstrated so far in areas of the country which don't have the same climate as Chicago," Yonan said. "But we are very happy to give it a shot. We're pleased with the results so far."

PelletPATCH is more expensive than regular hot or cold asphalt, and it wouldn't be cost-effective to use on a countywide basis, Yonan said. But if it eliminates the need for crews to return to the same potholes repeatedly over a short period, the technology could become part of the arsenal against road craters, he said.

PelletPATCH's environmentally friendly characteristics are attractive, too, officials said. About 10 percent of the mixture contains rubber pellets made from recycled tires. The rubberized patch is flexible and less susceptible to cracking, according to the manufacturer, Las Vegas-based Phoenix Industries and its local business partner, CALCommTechnology Solutions of Buffalo Grove.

The old tires are processed into crumb rubber, which is blended with an asphalt composite to produce asphalt rubber, and hydrated lime is added, Phoenix Industries said.

"There are 300 million waste tires available each year in the United States," said Allan Olbur, of CALComm. "We are helping to get rid of some of the tires in terms of a long-lasting process that puts the tires back into the roads. Our pilot project with Cook County is aimed at trying to see whether this can become a useful product on a regular basis."

The city of Chicago last year tested a different pothole-repair technology, machines called "pothole killers," but city officials have no immediate plans to bring them back. The truck-mounted pothole killers are outfitted with a telescopic arm that clears debris and moisture from potholes and fills them with an asphalt patch.

The process is supposed to take a minute or less per pothole, and the machines are operated by one or two workers, instead of a larger crew.

But a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Tribune revealed that the devices, which are officially called the PK 2000 machines, are prone to breaking down and they are expensive to operate.

The test of the PK 2000 showed it was more expensive to operate on a per-ton basis than the traditional method of filling potholes with hot material, yet lower than the use of cold material, according to an analysis by the Chicago Department of Transportation.

"There were issues with maintenance. During the test, the materials-dispensing equipment would clog up and jam, and it would take some time to get it back working again," CDOT spokesman Pete Scales said.

In addition, the machines were out of service for 18 days during the test period, Aug. 15 through Oct. 28, 2011, Scales said.

"We don't see a need to bring back the machines this year because we have done a good job eliminating the pothole backlog," Scales said. "We would consider using them again as a supplement to other tools if we were to have a really bad winter and we fell behind the pothole problem."

Because of the mild winter of 2011-12, CDOT crews that would be on pothole duty this month have already begun street and alley resurfacing work, officials said. The switch from pothole repair to resurfacing would usually occur in May, officials said.

CDOT crews filled more than 600,000 potholes in 2011, up from about 450,000 in 2010. They've filled more than 145,000 potholes in 2012, officials said.

Recent Headlines

Cook County General Hospital's $90-Million Redevelopment Saves a Chicago Icon
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Engineering News Rec ord

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

City considers landmarking old Cook County Hospital
Friday, March 01, 2019
Gazette Chicago

Judge: State constitution doesn't force Cook County to spend $250M more on roads, transport projects
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Cook County Rrecord

City Club of Chicago: Cook County Housing Authority Executive Director Richard Monocchio
Thursday, February 28, 2019
WGN Chicago

Illinois hospitals seek reform of Medicaid managed care system
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Effingham Daily News

Cook County Juvenile Court Clinic’s Annual Report
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Special to

Glenview open house a 'one stop service' for new, existing residents to learn about town offerings
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Glenview Announcements

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.