Pharos-Tribune

January 15, 2014

INDOT warns of highway potholes

From staff reports
Pharos-Tribune

---- — The Indiana Department of Transportation asks that Indiana drivers be on alert for potholes on interstates, U.S. highways and state routes.

The rise and fall in temperatures following last week’s severe winter weather was a recipe for potholes to form quickly. As temperatures continue to rise and fall through the winter season, more potholes are likely to form. When INDOT is not clearing snow, ice or storm debris, crews are focused on maintaining and preserving the state’s roads and bridges, which mainly consists of pothole patching in the winter months.

INDOT crews worked over the weekend to fill potholes in the Northwest Indiana District despite an exhausting previous week on the roads clearing snow and ice from the recent winter storm which saw them on the roads 24 hours a day for five days. Crews are filling potholes as quickly as possible, but with 5,000 lane miles to maintain in the Northwest Indiana District alone, it’s a big job.

Potholes begin when water seeps into the cracks in a road and freezes, expanding the layers of pavement, stone and soil beneath the surface. As the ice melts and contracts, heavy highway traffic further loosens the pavement, forming potholes.

With temperatures too low for paving, most of Indiana’s hot mix asphalt plants are now closed. During the winter INDOT uses cold mix — a mixture of small stone and liquid asphalt — as a temporary patch. Even after being filled with cold patch, the same pothole requires ongoing maintenance and can reopen several times throughout the winter. When the asphalt plants reopen in the spring, INDOT maintenance crews clean out and then repair potholes with hot mix, providing a smoother, more permanent fix.

For the past several years, INDOT has been expanding its Pavement Preservation Program to improve pavement friction and seal tiny cracks before potholes form. For every dollar invested, research estimates that pavement preservation saves taxpayers $6 to $14 in future maintenance and construction costs. Pavement preservation also uses fewer natural resources than reconstruction and significantly reduces motorist inconvenience.

To report a pothole on a numbered state route, interstate or U.S. highway, call 1-855-GO-INDOT.