By on April 1, 2016

Preston Perry, tractor owner

If this catches on, local governments will have to choose between anarchy and saving on infrastructure repair.

An 84-year-old man in rural Nova Scotia, Canada just did what many of us have always fantasized about — he rolled out his own heavy equipment to fix the road in front of his house, according to Global News.

Preston Perry of Upper Nine Mile River was sick to death of the suspension-bending potholes in his gravel roadway, and — like Charles Bronson in any movie starring Charles Bronson — stormed out the door to take matters into his own hands.

Years of complaints (and a petition) made to local political representatives was met with a brick wall of inaction much harder and flatter than the surface of MacIntosh Road.

“I know they can’t do a perfect job now this time of the year, but you could at least make it passable,” Perry lamented.

Charles Bronson

Using an honorable tractor that sports a patina that can only be described as “Titanic-esque,” Perry went to town on the World War One battlefield roadway, which measures about two-thirds of a mile long.

This vigilante of public works infrastructure claims he isn’t doing it just for himself and his neighbours, but also for his 82-year-old wife, who suffers from a spinal injury. Potholes do a number on her, he said.

Though a pave job would end the troubles of the road’s occupants, the language used by public officials isn’t promising for a speedy fix — which is why Perry is still fixing the road on an as-needed basis.

And if more equipment is needed, don’t worry — his grandson owns a backhoe, Perry told reporters.

For displaying an admirably stubborn, get-things-done attitude, Perry deserves a round of applause. This is how you win wars, people.

[Image: Preston Perry, video capture/Global News; Death Wish, Paramount Pictures]

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44 Comments on “Old Man Says to Hell With the Government, He’ll Fix Potholes Himself, Dammit...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Watch him go to jail now.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I don’t think he’d do well in prison.

    • 0 avatar
      PentastarPride

      If he does, the roadworkers’ union will definitely have a hand in that. “He’s taking work away from us!”

      It boggles my mind how millions are appropriated for road work, yet it never gets done. Where does the money go?

      Minor road work on a volunteer basis sounds like a good idea, as does public/state park groundskeeping and maintenance. Let the public get involved with these kinds of things. It’s another way to serve the community and while saving the taxpayer some money.

      • 0 avatar
        TDIGuy

        “It boggles my mind how millions are appropriated for road work, yet it never gets done. Where does the money go?”

        Last year, some Hamilton city workers had their jobs reinstated after they were fired for taking out a truck loaded for patch repairs, dumping the materials and doing nothing for the day…. So to answer your question, ya, that’s where it probably goes.

      • 0 avatar
        Lynchenstein

        In this case I doubt there was even thousands brought in through taxes to cover this part of the road. Rural Nova Scotia is sparsely populated.

        But hat’s off to him for fixing the road himself.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        It sounds like a good idea until someone does something terrible when they try to fix something. The vast majority of times, people won’t do anything wrong, but when it does, what should be done? Or, how can we make sure they don’t do something terrible?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      There was an old TV show where an old geezer filled a pothole and the local government was all over him. But that was in America, not far-away Nova Scotia. The government in Ottawa barely remembers owning the “maritime provinces”, and gives the local government little, so this guy is in the clear.

      If you want to do something like that in over-governed ‘Murica, do it in the middle of the night when there’s no traffic/witnesses. A friend of mine claimed he did that with a pothole that bothered him, but he used quick-set cement and the pothole was actually a city water valve lid the department refused to raise after two overlays. He claims nobody has noticed yet.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    Pretty sure I remember my grandfather doing this on his driveway which was long enough that you could take the dog for a walk when you went to get the mail and pass by no fewer than three ponds. I wouldn’t doubt that on occasion the dirt road leading to his dirt driveway also required a bit of attention. Such is the case when you live in rural Missouri where the roads are red clay mixed with rocks.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This was a plot in an episode of Parks And Recreation from a few years ago.

    This old man is Canadian Ron Swanson.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    In the US, someone would drive down the road, crash, and sue him.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    In a similar story, an artist was tired of the lack of adequate signage at a certain part of an LA freeway, so he installed his own.

    The Department of Transportation left his signage in place for years, even after word got out that it was “guerilla art”. The signage has since been replaced with official signs that incorporate the artist’s improvements.

    http://www.laweekly.com/la-life/richard-ankroms-freeway-art-caltrans-buys-into-the-prank-2163171

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Hopefully the Nova Scotia ambulance chasers won’t go after him if there’s an accident on that road.

  • avatar

    My hat is off to you, Preston Perry.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Meh, we did this on the street that led to my father’s house back in the 80’s in Massachusetts. People on the street chipped in and bought some coal patch asphalt, someone had access to small steamroller. We shoveled it in as a group, and ran the steam roller over it – done.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      In my town the city road repair guy shovels a bit of hot asphalt into the pothole, stomps it down and leaves. The fill quickly gets squished down and deformed by passing cars.
      Then he comes back a year later and does it again.
      Some potholes have been “repaired” four or more times.
      I guess the city is too poor to even invest in a tamper.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Both my brother in California and me in Texas have fixed potholes. No cares, as long as you don’t put it up on the internet and shame your county commissioners.

  • avatar
    brettc

    That guy looks like Oscar from Corner Gas. Good for him fixing it because there’s probably a 1% or lower chance the local road crew will do it in NS

  • avatar
    richardsheil

    In Ireland we have our politicians do it for us!

    If the link doesn’t work just search for David Mc Savage fixed the road

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Won’t somebody please think of the poor county road workers…

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      They’re not “road” but maintenance workers, doing signs, guard rail, etc. They get paid whether they work or not, and there are the other justifications to keep their jobs, so they don’t care who fills the potholes. That’s the worst job for them anyway, and assigned to those with least seniority, who quickly realize there’s nobody checking on them and just drive around in between lunch/coffee breaks. That’s why you see piles of cold patch by the side of the road in rural areas. They had to dump it before the end of the day.

  • avatar
    r plaut

    Ah… I don’t want to be the kill joy here, but, today is April first.

    Am I the only one who’s suspicious?

  • avatar
    Duaney

    Good for him! He deserves an award! We all wonder where the money goes? In Colorado a few years ago, our Democrats passed a bill tripling our license plate fees, and added registration late fees. Every registration has a “road and bridge” fee. Recently the highway dept head said they’re out of money. The roads are terrible throughout the state, and yet the state takes in millions upon millions of extra tax dollars from these “fees”. Is it a wonder that no one trusts our legislators anymore?

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    I live in Cochise County AZ. Half the roads around here are maintained by homeowners.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    From The Independent UK, I believe, there is a man who was frustrated about road conditions near his home. So he got some paint and drew penises around them. Local authorities had to send out crews to cover his “art” with asphalt, incidentally filling in the potholes in the process.
    Whatever works.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    I’m going to weigh in here and without knowing the specifics I can give an educated guess.

    His road is probably considered private or semi-private so it falls into a very low priority situation. For the most part road services are both the most expensive to maintain and cause the most consternation from the public. From a practical perspective the state has a problem maintaining roads because they aren’t vertically integrated in most cases. They’re stuck directly competing with private pavers for resources and services which creates a problem. The generally perceived best answer is to create a public-private competition system that builds replacements on smaller scales and forces both groups to be competitive with one and other to keep costs down.

    Also, if we stopped treating pot holes as a ‘patch’ situation we would be better off. In most cases holes emerge for two reasons: Heavy vehicles depress the ground over a weak spot and repeated pressure breaks and shatters the asphalt. The other reason is water getting into cracks and splitting the ground and creating easy to break splits that get torn. In situations where the ground is that unstable they would be better served in investing in a modest investment of concrete base with an asphalt jacket. This is a more costly investment but looking at the long-term costs areas that do it resurface and hot patch less which leads to less labor wasted and rotation speed is increased.

    This isn’t a government problem so much as a private business model that rather than working with government would rather keep pressure on them to sell them all contracts. In many areas the biggest pavers are regional or national groups that demand huge contracts or won’t play at all. Which leads to a constant standoff situation.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I have to add that most municipalities look at repair on a priority basis. High volume routes and bus routes tend to get first priority. My town covers a huge rural area and has a huge road network compared to the population base and that is usually what happens.
      If this fellow is truly rural and lives outside a municipality then road repair and maintenance falls to a Regional District administration which is indirectly Provincial jurisdiction.

      Global warming causing more frequent winter freeze/thaw cycles is incredibly hard on roads. Our municipality’s road maintenance costs have skyrocketed. As @Xeranar has pointed out, most paving companies are large and don’t like bidding on small jobs. They even don’t like supplying asphalt or cold mix for pothole repair. Our town is planning on buying its own small paving plant to make their own asphalt as studies have shown that it is cheaper in the long run.

      Heavy vehicles can be hard on roads but that can be mitigated by imposing “load bans”. That means that there are reduced maximum load limits or complete bans on heavy truck traffic during specific times of the year. Spring time is when this happens. We’ve always referred to it as “spring breakup”. Frost starts to come out of the ground and that makes them much more vulnerable. Frost heaves are more problematic at this time of year too.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    You alls seem to know things , here’s a Concrete Driveway patch Q. :

    I have a few small holes here and there and want to fill them in so they stop collecting oil and water , leaves , washers , nuts and bolts, dog hair etc.

    What to use ? .

    I see smooth small hole repairs on the Concrete freeways that are decades old and holding just fine , that is this stuff ? Epoxy maybe ? .

    I want to go buy something at a DIY store or like that , in So. Cal. .

    I can and will mix plain Concrete sans gravel but I’d like something very smooth .

    TIA ,

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Clean clean clean your hole. That’s the primary issue with failure to bond. Then if it’s been a while (i’m assuming so) do some light pressure cleaning and maybe even chisel out some of the chunks if they seem like they’re going to cause issue with the fill. Then just use the same cement/concrete mixture you used if you’re looking for uniformity or opt for high-PSI if you didn’t before. That stuff is pretty much indestructible.

      As a further aside, only fill the hole to about an inch below the rim to allow for both a bit of expansion/shrinkage and to minimize bumps. So once it cures a bit later, throw a smoothing coat with a much smaller mix and a hand trowel to get it even. You can throw in some of the drive way pavement hardener if you’re really adamant about avoiding further issue.

      If you have drive way cracks you can treat it like glass, drill with a larger bit to take the pressure off the point and inject epoxy then cement it over.

  • avatar
    Piston Slap Yo Mama

    Race officials recently used Bondo™ for emergency pothole repairs during the Daytona 500. That would make nocturnal guerrilla repair operations much quicker on busy streets, likely no orange cones needed.

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