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 $170,000 to owners of vehicles that suffered damage from potholes, utility cuts and sinkholes on the state capital’s streets. From a…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

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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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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 of poor long-term planning and bad short-term decisions. In a nice neighborhood of Omaha, Nebraska, where homes on large lots…read more

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