Public Works Deploys New Spray Pothole Patcher to Repair Local Streets

Published on June 22, 2022

Photograph of a spray pothole patcher in Kansas City, Kansas

The Unified Government’s Public Works Department is pleased to announce the arrival of a new pothole patching vehicle, and they need your help picking a name for it!

Earlier this month, teams from Public Works’ Street and Fleet Services divisions received delivery of a LeeBoy® Spray Pothole Patcher. Unlike Public Works’ Hot Patchers, a single crew member can operate the Spray Patcher using a “Patch-on-the-Go” spray injection system. In some cases, the new vehicle can patch potholes in as little as two minutes.

Unique to this model is an extendable hydraulic boom that allows operators a wide working range for patching from side to side. The boom draws material from an onboard kettle that can heat, mix, and hold up to 11,000 pounds of material.

Potholes are patched by a driver-operated in-cab joystick that performs a four-step injection process via the hydraulic boom:

  1. Clean – The operator uses a high-volume blower to clear the pothole of debris and moisture
  2. Tack – The operator sprays a tack coat on the pothole’s interior
  3. Fill – The operator sprays a mixture of emulsion and aggregate into the pothole
  4. Finish – The operator sprays a finishing coat of dry aggregate on the surface

In the hands of a skilled operator, the new Spray Patcher can cover large areas and patch up to 200 potholes daily.

“Public Works Street Maintenance team is excited to add the new Spray Patcher to their growing list of advanced street maintenance tools,” said Dave Reno, Public Works’ Public Information Officer, “The community has said that street maintenance should be the Unified Government’s top priority in multiple Community Surveys, and the Spray Patcher will help meet that expectation in a small but important way.”

March, April, May, and June are some of the busiest months, accounting for more than 50% of all potholes. In May, crews patched 2,049 potholes, bringing this year’s running total to 14,965. With the new Spray Patcher now working on local streets, teams will be able to patch more quickly and efficiently during some of the year’s busiest months.

To vote for your favorite spray patcher name, visit or dial 3-1-1. Voting will close on July 1 at 5 PM, so don’t wait!

Please remember to slow down and give crews plenty of room to operate safely when you see them. To report a pothole, dial 3-1-1 or visit

Learn more about potholes and patching:

How do Potholes Form?

As long as there are paved roadways, there will also be potholes. Despite popular misconceptions, potholes can form at any time throughout the year:

  • Winter weather is especially tough on roads. Moisture from snow and ice seeps into pavement, freezes, and then expands. When the expanded pavement thaws out, it contracts and leaves gaps in the surface underneath.
  • The summer is equally hard on roads. Heat from the sun causes pavement to expand and water can seep through the cracks that form. As streets cool overnight, the pavement contracts and leaves behind gaps in the surface underneath.
  • As vehicles travel over these gaps, the asphalt begins to break apart, leaving behind a pothole

For a visual example of how a pothole forms, check out this graphic:

An infographic showing how potholes form on streets

How Are Potholes Prioritized for Patching?

When it comes to pothole patching, teams prioritize areas with high concentrations of potholes and high traffic volumes. Other factors matter as well, but high traffic volume is the primary driver. Some of the other factors are:

  • Severity - Dependent on size, depth, and location on the road surface.
  • Proximity - Work is assigned to crews based on location of other similar work to allow for efficient routing throughout the day.
  • Weather and other contributing factors, like closures, may cause different prioritization of repairs.

How Are Potholes Fixed?

In Kansas City, Kansas, Public Works’ Street Division uses both of the City’s Hot Patchers and the traditional “Throw and Roll” cold patching methods.

Photograph of a With onboard attachments like a jackhammer and tack oil application wand, the Hot Patchers allow team members to apply long-lasting and more uniform repairs to road surfaces. While this process is initially slower than the "throw and roll," repairs last much longer – in some cases until the next overlay or rebuild. Over time, the need to patch the same hole time and time again diminishes significantly. Team members do still occasionally use older patching methods to get material in troublesome holes and buy time until the Hot Patchers or surface treatments are available.

Photograph of a crew using a mobile crack sealer to fill gaps in street pavement In 2021, Public Works added a brand new Crack Sealing machine to its street maintenance toolkit. Pavement expands and contracts as it cools and warms throughout the year. In some cases, this can cause cracks to appear on the streets. If these cracks are not addressed quickly, they allow moisture to sneak into the road’s surface and ultimately decrease the road’s overall lifespan. The new Crack Sealer allows teams to apply repairs quickly and efficiently, which aids Public Works significantly in their effort to stretch limited dollars further and keep roads healthier, longer. Unique to this model is its onboard and completely self-contained Asphalt Crack Sealing Kettle, which makes it capable of heating, melting, and applying all grades of rubberized asphalt crack sealer, joint sealants, and waterproofing compounds without the need for additional equipment.

Are Potholes Proactively Addressed?

Yes - crews take a proactive approach to patching, so they are always on the lookout for new potholes. Unfortunately, they don’t to spot them all.

Remember to report potholes by calling 3-1-1 or visiting