ODOT District 7 is working to keep
roadways as smooth as possible for drivers during the winter
months, however, with the rise and fall of temperatures roadways
tend to develop more potholes.
Potholes are typically created
when water enters pavement through a small crack. This can be
where pavement sections adjoin or are adjacent to a bridge. As
that water freezes and thaws, it expands and shrinks which
breaks the pavement down, leading to deterioration and
eventually a pothole.
"There is no cure for
potholes in the winter months, but crews work to patch them as
quickly as possible." said Highway Management Administrator
Scott Kasler, "The only real fix is to remove the
deteriorated pavement and replace it."
Due to colder temperatures, crews
typically have to "patch" a pothole until it can be
permanently repaired in the Spring. The two main products used
for pothole repairs are hot mix asphalt and cold patch (another
asphalt product). Hot mix asphalt is often the preferred method
because it is typically more durable, but the primary plants
that produce this material are not normally operating in the
winter months. Cold patch is the most commonly used material as
it widely available and is simple to place, although it may not
be as durable as the hot mix.
In some rare cases crews may also
use fast setting concrete to handle a larger pothole that
repeatedly deteriorates. This material requires a longer period
of time to set, which means traffic is not able to drive on that
portion of the roadway while the concrete hardens. The length of
time it takes for the concrete to be strong enough to support
traffic varies with the temperature. The colder the temperature
the longer it takes.
Along with temperature, moisture
has an effect on how well a patch holds. Moisture in the
pavement or patching material will freeze and thaw with
temperatures. This movement can dislodge a patch or cause it to
crumble over time. The more freeze/thaw cycles you go through
the more chance there is of patch failure. In other words, if it
freezes and stays frozen, it is much better than the temperature
going up and down frequently, as we have seen in recent weeks.
"Last week's early spring
temperatures worked against us in several counties," said
Roadway Services Manager Randy Sanders, "however, early
preventative measures avoided a lot of potholes in most of our
ODOT crews will continue to
repair potholes as they form. In the meantime, drivers should be
aware of the process and stay alert for any changes in the
pavement, especially in colder temperatures.
For more information contact: Mandi Abner, ODOT District 7
Public Information Officer, at 937-497-6820