Winter 2011-2012 in the Central U.S. – and the Potholes to Come

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As winter settles in, it is anyone’s guess as to whether the weather will meet expectations. But as sure as there will be cold, snow, sleet and eventually, a thaw, there is one prediction that is a safe bet: there will be potholes. A severe period of cold and snow is predicted for the upper Midwest, including storms expected to hit Chicago, Indianapolis, Omaha, Nebraska and of course Buffalo, New York. AccuWeather.com predicted in October 2011 that in terms of temperatures, Minneapolis will get the “worst of winter’s cold alone.”…read more

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Corrugated Street: The Problem with Railroad Track Level Crossings

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In cities, counties and rural areas where roads have recently received a nice, smooth resurfacing of clean asphalt, one problem for motorists still remains. It’s rough railroad crossings, the jarring experience of passing over the damaging, uneven surfaces immediately surrounding railway lines. Whether that crossing is at-grade or slightly elevated, it appears to be a cruel joke. The  car or truck might be traveling at a good clip, with no reason to break for the tracks because there are no red flashing signals, lowered gates or trains within sight or…read more

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October Snowstorm an Early Warning – About Potholes

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The record level of snowfall along the eastern corridor at the end of October 2011 caused enough damage on its own. Millions of homes and businesses went without electrical power as a result of downed power lines. As fall turns into winter, we’re reminded that where nature intersects with civilization, man-made things have a tendency to fall apart. This snowstorm did the region the disfavor of arriving while the leaves where still on the trees. Those leaves caught more of the wet snow, which then burdened branches that broke and…read more

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Salem, Ohio Pothole Once Famous, Now Fixed

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The way money is allocated in most cash-strapped cities, counties and townships across America, it often seems like a matter of splitting hairs. But the Butcher Road Pothole of 2011 in Columbiana County, Ohio really came down to splitting a road. All in the name of fiscal responsibility. A brouhaha erupted in the summer, when a pothole plaguing motorists seemed to be getting bigger while it was officially ignored. Citizens complained to the city of Salem, which owned one side of the road, and Perry Township, which borders the city…read more

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Driving Tips to Avoid Potholes – And Rising Tire Prices

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In case you didn’t like potholes in the winter of 2010-2011, there is a reason you’ll dislike potholes even more in the winter of 2011-2012. Here’s why: Potholes destroy tires, and the price of tires is rising sharply due to a supply shortage of natural rubber (yes, it still comes from trees, mostly in southeast Asia) and increasing demand from China, where car ownership is undergoing double-digit growth. Petroleum is also used in tire manufacturing, adding further to cost volatility. Blow out just one tire on one pothole and expect…read more

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