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Infrastructure Czar Norman Anderson Advocates Holistic Strategies

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Highly qualified appointee sees job creation as part of the overall value of modernization and repair of systems that knit America together. The Trump Administration has named Norman F. Anderson to be the nation’s “infrastructure czar,” which provides somewhat of a window on if and how the nation’s roads, airports, ports, public transportation, and electrical grids might be improved over the next several years. Anderson is an infrastructure professional, currently…

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Sensors, GPS and Crowdsourcing vs. Potholes

By potholes, Uncategorized

Newer technologies are reinventing how we fix crumbling infrastructure – in particular, potholes. Cars, bikes, garbage trucks, and drones are part of it. In an era when smartphones, “smart cities,” the Internet of Things (IoT), and “the cloud” litter our conversations, it may seem as if the discussion is moving far away from the basics of unbroken asphalt and smooth pavement. But in fact these are things that might mean fewer street potholes, more-efficient…

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Why Asphalt and Pothole Repairs are a Summertime Business

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If it seems like winter potholes and summer road repair are on an endless cycle, you’re right. For most pavement repairs, the temperature matters. Asphalt is a little like zucchini. And asphalt plants are like a zucchini garden. Each has a season and they are most productive when the weather is warm. You could even argue there’s an oversupply of both zucchini and road repair work in the hottest seasons….

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Poor Infrastructure States Have Other Problems, Too

By potholes, Uncategorized

How does the quality of infrastructure affect a state economy? How might the condition of roads, bridges, airports, ports, railways, and utilities affect quality of life? Do potholes on our daily commute affect us in other ways? The CNBC cable news channel went about considering these and other factors in 2016, breaking down each condition by state. They considered such things as the percent of deficient bridges, the average commuting time to…

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Emerging Technologies vs. Potholes

By Uncategorized

The Internet of Things, Big Data, and drones can fix pavement before it gets worse. The conditions of our roads tell us we can use all the help we can get. In an age where the Internet of Things (IoT) is being applied to cities – identify leaking water mains, unusually heavy traffic, malfunctioning stoplights, etc. – along with the use of Big Data and data analytics, one would hope that…

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Pothole Damage Claims: Drivers Mostly Not Compensated

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Collision damages from potholes leave many drivers covering the cost themselves. An insurance claim might work (but probably not). The city of Jackson, Mississippi has its share of potholes. Motorists there are subject to the bumps, dings and dents that happen in almost every city – despite its subtropical location that limits its freeze-thaw cycles. Over a four-and-a-half year period, from early 2012 to latter 2016, the municipality paid out…

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Public Works vs. Infrastructure

By 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…

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Adios Pavement, Hello Gravel?

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More than just a few municipalities are throwing in the towel on bad pavement. Replacing their potholes are gravel and dirt roads – which have their own issues. Two noteworthy American cities about 1400 miles apart are chewing up rutted, potholed pavement and replacing them with dirt and gravel. The reason this is happening boils down to money – or a lack thereof. But others argue it’s just a matter…

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Tollway Successes Hard to Ignore

By potholes, Uncategorized

Are toll roads the future of good pavement? The lessons from Colorado’s E-470 might provide us a clue on how to provide pothole-free roadways. The first highway in the U.S. to use open road tolling – where drivers could skip human-staffed barriers and coin baskets, paying instead electronically – celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016. It’s Colorado’s E-470 which links the eastern suburbs of Denver and which has successfully maintained its…

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Pothole Dummy Laughs Off 1,100 Hard Hits in Chicago

By Uncategorized

Most drivers avoid potholes wherever and however much possible. But others face the problem head-on. For a living. And for laughs. In April – a prime time for potholes in the wake of late winter/early spring freeze-thaw cycles – a character known as the Pothole Dummy plied the streets of Chicago to see how many potholes he could run over in a five-day stretch. He was successful: 1,110 hits were…

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Can Data Science Fix Potholes?

By Uncategorized

Is it possible? Might data science and data analytics help improve our potholed roads? Applied data science is all around us. It’s how Google Maps can recommend routes to take with some ability to predict traffic (because other Google Maps users have tested those routes before you, and GPS tracking records and analyzes the speed of those previous drivers at different times of day and in various road conditions). It’s…

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How Humans Respond Emotionally to Potholes

By Uncategorized

Some people get angry and bitter over the damage that poor pavement causes. But to protect from vehicular damage and accidents, some people take action. The experience of driving in modern life is very different from the advertising of the 1950s, when singer Dinah Shore sang, “See the USA in your Chevrolet.” The camera showed us an open, smooth highway, where nary a care should cross the minds of drivers…

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No Spare Tires and Lots of Potholes

By Uncategorized

Tire inflator kits are rapidly replacing the tire in the trunk. They offer some advantages but provide some of their own bumps in the road. It’s never a fun surprise when your car hits a pothole and you get a flat tire. In fact, “surprise” is quite likely not the first word to come out of your mouth. Even worse, there might be a second discovery for you when you…

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Poor Pavement Hits Lower-Income Americans Hard

By Uncategorized

Damages to cars from potholes can cost more than most households have on hand for emergencies. The cost of slow traffic and accidents may be even greater. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), motorists are shelling out $6.4 billion per year in car repairs due to potholes. That’s just to take care of flat tires, bent rims, poor alignments, damaged shocks and struts, cracked catalytic converters – and the…

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A Road Built to Be Bad

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Ford intentionally built a very nasty stretch of pavement to test vehicles under pothole conditions. It’s a success – but is that a good thing? This just in from the Department of Irony: Ford Motor Company built a road that is intentionally potholed. What’s more, it’s 50 miles in length and actually is designed to replicate how cars meet carnage from bad pavement in 25 different countries. The purposefully bad…

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Pothole Danger is Real, Far Worse Than Flat Tires

By potholes, Uncategorized

Of course we think of potholes as hidden dangers. We don’t see them until it’s too late. And often what looks like a harmless puddle is actually a 14-inch deep crater, merely holding water from last night’s rain. But aside from the jarring fright of a sudden, unexpected bump, and the unnerving shock at the cost to repair a car (from damaged tires, rims, alignments, catalytic converters, etc.), we may…

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Fix Existing Roads vs. Build New: All Positions Considered

By Uncategorized

The question on how to fix America’s existing roadways creates strange political bedfellows. Fiscal conservatives are arguing the same thing as environmental conservationists – that fixing crumbling roads makes more sense than building new ones. Part of the reason why is that people simply are driving less than in the past. Environmentalists in the Midwest are cheering the decision of newly elected Illinois Governor (R) Bruce Rauner for cancelling the…

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Texas Floods Lead to Texas-Size Potholes

By Uncategorized

Editor’s Note: The flooding associated with Hurricane Harvey in August 2017 far exceeded the conditions described in this 2015 story. The net effects on pavement quality are tertiary to the death and destruction of this storm, but the severe degree of potholes and other infrastructure deterioration will undoubtedly plague the region and impair rebuilding efforts in the months and years to come.   In late May 2015 Texas received enough rainfall…

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Pothole Primer: How to avoid and recognize car damage

By Uncategorized

To mark the first World Pothole Day (March 25, 2015), Pothole.info shares with readers two important categories of advice: How to prevent pothole damage on vehicles, and to recognize damage that needs to be fixed. But this is about more than car damage – one-third of the 33,000 traffic deaths in the U.S. each year can be attributed in part to poor road conditions. For those lucky enough to escape…

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UK’s Mr. Pothole a Vivid Campaigner

By Uncategorized

American motorists should know that pothole problems are not limited to the United States. Pavement is pavement, all over the world, as well as the inevitable potholes. Enough so that in the United Kingdom there is Mr. Pothole, who self describes as “the National Pothole Campaigner in the UK.” Mr. Pothole (a.k.a. Mark Morrell) tours the country, works his messages through social media, and is an organizer of National Pothole…

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Will Michigan Voters Decide to Pay More for Infrastructure?

By Uncategorized

On May 5, 2015 voters in the state of Michigan will have the opportunity to raise their taxes – all in the interest of better roads, bridges and public transport. And unlike most referenda that fail at this, advocates for the measure believe this may be the exception. Proposal 1 is a binding vote to amend the state constitution, adding $1.25 billion per year for state and local road maintenance…

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“Infrastructure – if anything exciting happens, we’ve done it wrong.”

By Uncategorized

Sometimes humor is the best teacher. So thanks to HBO-TV’s John Oliver, host of the comedy show “Last Week Tonight,” the topic of infrastructure may finally find some students. As this March 2015 clip explains, via Oliver’s satirical quips, infrastructure isn’t sexy. Especially the repair part, where potholes are filled and cracked bridge buttresses are repaired. These are the essential public works projects that don’t get ribbon cuttings. Consequently, we…

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Newest Pothole Repair Technologies at Work in 2015

By Uncategorized

With the highly anticipated arrival of Spring 2015 almost upon us, most of the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains will welcome warmer temperatures, grass instead of snow, and streets filled with potholes. Well, perhaps the potholes will not be welcome. But as sure as the sun will shine, there will be many, many potholes wherever there has been precipitation, freezing temperatures and vehicular traffic. Because those things are precisely…

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Boston Digs Out – To Find Potholes

By Uncategorized

With an accumulation of almost eight feet of snow so far in the winter of 2014-2015, the City of Boston is still trying to figure out how to make streets and public transportation systems operable. But the brutal, heavy-precipitation winter of 2015 in Massachusetts and much of the rest of New England will have an after-effect that may well last into the warmer, even summer months. Without question, there will…

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