How Road Crews Fix Potholes in Winter

Posted by in potholes

There’s more than one way to fix a pothole. Some fixes are temporary, some permanent, some were preventable – and maybe a type of bacteria is the future solution. At midwinter in much of North America, transportation authority road crews are busy with pothole repairs. It’s a time of year when motorists call in a pothole (or use one of the apps, such as See Click Fix) to the city, county or state department of transportation to request a repair – which sets off a legal responsibility to smooth out that broken…read more

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Are Winter 2017 potholes forming near you?

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Precipitation and traffic cause most asphalt deterioration. But three things – the month, local weather and road repair budgets – predict when potholes form. The winter of 2016-2017 is doing what winters do: Some areas (including the Northeast) are getting a fair degree of precipitation and freezing temperatures. A few spates of near-zero temperatures have hit the Upper Midwest and Great Plains states, sometimes dipping into the South East and Texas. Ice Storm Jupiter is making its way across the Upper Midwest as of this writing. What is typical too…read more

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Do Salt and Snowplows Cause Potholes?

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Salt and snowplows can make potholes worse. But blame time, traffic, temperature and precipitation for most asphalt pavement deterioration. A common misperception is that road salt and snowplows are what cause potholes. Both can be at least partially responsible, but that doesn’t explain why there are potholes in Los Angeles, Miami and Honolulu. Potholes are a product of precipitation, temperature, traffic and time. To be more specific, temperatures fluctuating above and below freezing lead to freeze-thaw cycles of moisture that undermine pavement sub-surfaces; extreme heat that cooks moisture below the…read more

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The Trump Infrastructure Plan and Potholes

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Hazardous streets and highways got plenty of attention in the 2016 election. Will the president-elect favor fixes – or exclusively build new roads? In the 2016 election both major party candidates shared at least one idea. They promised, to varying degrees and by different methods, to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure. Potholes – pavement crevices, not just the metaphors – were mentioned by both Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton. Since his electoral victory, President-elect Trump has made some concrete moves toward fulfilling his infrastructure promises. This shouldn’t be surprising, given that…read more

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Public Works vs. Infrastructure

Posted by in potholes, Uncategorized

What’s in a word? Does calling our pavement “infrastructure” instead of “public works” in anyway help fix our potholes? Or is it the other way around? In his recent book, “The Road Taken: The History and Future of America’s Infrastructure,” Duke University engineering professor Henry Petroski discusses (among many things) common misconceptions about the sources of funds for road construction and maintenance. Where it comes to our nation’s roads, bridges and other components of the physical makeup of civilization, it isn’t always clear what level of government – city, state or federal…read more

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