Dura Patcher purchase tabled; It was suggested by One Percent Citizens Committee

(Riverton, Wyo.) – The Riverton City Council has tabled a recommendation from its one percent Fix Our Roads Citizens Committee (FORCC) on the purchase of some road repairing equipment.

The recommendation was to purchase a Dura Patcher pothole repair machine for some $64,150. The machine was demonstrated for the committee by the Wyoming Department of Transportation last summer. Basically, the machine mixes oil and pea gravel together and sprays layer upon layer of the patching material into pot holes. The layering stops when the fill reaches the level of the street.

This Dura Patcher was spotted trailing behind a WYDOT truck south of Riverton on Wednesday. (Ernie Over photo)

A WYDOT Dura Patcher was spotted Wed. S. of Riverton (eo)

“It’s an amazing piece of equipment,” FORCC Chairman Wendall Manka told the city council this week. “The committee looked at the work this machine did, and how it’s holding up since last fall. It’s holding up very well and it’s better than crack sealing.” Manka said the only complaint he’s received about the work of Dura Patcher was the pea gravel left around the patching site. He said that is easily cleaned up.

Mayor Ron Warpness said he struggled with the purchase recommendation, because he does not want to jeopardize the renewal of the optional one cent tax when it comes up for renewal in two more years. Warpness then read from a statement he had prepared, outlining his position.  “The citizens have given us a great gift, a great trust and $1.7 million a year (in Riverton) with a pledge of their money to fix our roads, and infrastructure,” he said. “The specifics were spelled out in the ballot initiative. Anything that strays away from that commitment jeopardizes that pledge.” He said there were no equipment purchases listed in the ballot measure. Warpness also said the consensus of Fremont County Association of Government officials attending last week’s meeting in Lander “was that it is not worth the purchase.”

Warpness noted that the City of Riverton maintains 69 miles of roadway within the community that is benefitting greatly from the one percent funds with street overlays and concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk repairs and replacements. “It is critical to preserve this gift.”

The mayor said he had given the county commissioners “a lot of heart burn over their purchase of snow fence materials with their one percent funds. We’ve gone around and around on that one.”

Menka asked that the item be tabled so more information could be collected.

He said the city had rented a Dura Patcher last summer after the WYDOT demonstration for a cost of $4,000 a month, the rental of which did not come from one percent funds.

Councilor Richard Gard said the city had made equipment purchases before the one percent tax was approved, and he suggested the city look at a purchase of the patcher from its own funds. “We can do this without going into the one percent,” he said.

When it came to a vote, the item was tabled unanimously.

Meanwhile, work on one percent curb, gutter and sidewalk replacements continues around the city (see below). Today a crew from ERI Engineering was at work on North 12th East.

Photos by Ernie Over. Click to enlarge.