Traffic was stopped along the pothole-riddled stretch of Route 4 at Woodstock's eastern edge Tuesday morning — and drivers couldn't be happier.
In the first installment of a $45,000 summer paving project in Woodstock, a crew was out filling some of the busy roadway's biggest craters. The Claremont-based North American Infrared uses a cool — well, the better word might be "hot" — technique to fill axle-snappers in a way that has a chance of lasting past the next semi rumbling through.
First, the crew's bright red truck lowers a diesel-powered infrared heating device over the section of road to be repaired — let's call it a potbroiler. Then, with the pavement rendered porous, the workers pour in asphalt hot mix, then pack it into smoothness to cool and dry.
"It's welding the old and the new together," said Jared Filion, company owner. "It's like welding pavement."
Filion and coworker Brandon Ash were in second of two days of their portion of the summer paving project, a job he said is worth about $5,000 for his company. The infrared technique yields repairs that will last a long while, he said, but the relief will be found only in certain parts of the road.
"The only thing that lasts is what we do," he said. "It's impossible to infrared the whole road."
While more repairs are forthcoming on Route 4 and other Swiss cheese stretches, the real relief won't come until — and if — the state of Vermont completes a $3 million repaving of the entire road through Woodstock Village in 2020, town officials say.
Until then, Woodstock, buckle up and enjoy the infrared.