Morgantown Engineer’s “Pothole Terminator” Could Be the Permanent Solution for WV’s Roadways

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It’s a problem that’s all too familiar to West Virginians…potholes.

Winter has been hard on the roadways. Lots of snow and rain means plenty of water pooling on the pavement, but a Morgantown engineer believes he a permanent solution.  

“Potholes are costing drivers around $500 a year,” said Sam Bonasso, the inventor behind Pothole Terminator.

Bonasso, who has previously served as the West Virginia Secretary of Transportation, says Pothole Terminator fixes the problem that causes the holes, water seeping into the road base.

“What I realized as a structural engineer is that this will bind the stone together,” Bonasso said. “It’s not just about putting stone in, it binds it together, so it actually make the stone stronger and it behaves as a solid. That’s why I called it Mechanical Concrete because it mechanically holds the stone together.”

So how does it work?

“We take a tire-derived cylinder, fill it with number 57 stone, or something similar, and then pave over top of it and the pothole is eliminated,” said Jim Matuga with Pothole Terminator.

This pothole solution already being used in five states, including West Virginia on high-traffic areas like Morgantown’s University Town Center and Mountain Line bus garage.

“Through the course of the winter, we haven’t had to do anything to the patches we’ve put in place,” said David Bruffy, Executive Director of Mountain Line Transit Authority. “They’ve held up wonderfully. It doesn’t look like we’re gonna have to do anything this spring.”

The West Virginia Division of Highways, Materials Division has tested Pothole Terminator at WVU for several years, and now approved it.

Bonasso also had his invention patented in the United States and Canada.  

Now the cost-saving product is looking for more cities that want a permanent fix instead of the yearly pothole patch.

“If you have 1,000 square feet of potholes to take care of, you can do this for about $12 a square foot,” Bonasso explained. “That means a three by three pothole can be repaired permanently for about a hundred bucks.”

“Especially in a state like West Virginia where we’re facing budgetary issues, let’s fix the root of the problem, so we can utilize our resources, money, in other ideas like education and in the community, rather than to keep fixing the same potholes over and over,” Matuga added. 

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