Pothole Season

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Thursday April 03, 2014

Justin Rabidoux addresses a problem thats hard to avoid these days. Potholes!The Anatomy of a PotholePotholes occur in pavement constantly, regardless of the season. However, the frequency and severity of them is determined by several factors.

The amount of precipitation that we get over a winter season.

The seasonal temperatures.

The condition of the pavement.

Irregularities in the pavement.

Frost occurs when moisture in the ground freezes and expands, which changes the shape of the ground around it. This leads to frost heaves in the road. The deeper the frost, the more severe the rise or dip. Then we come along and plow and salt the roads for safe travel and that combined with regular traffic drives the frost even deeper.

As warmer temperatures prevail, the ground softens and returns to its “normal” state.

The amount of precipitation we receive over the winter determines how much of an “insulating” blanket the ground gets, thereby determining the depth of frost in the ground. 

If temperatures are very cold and there is less snowfall than normal, like this winter, the frost is quick to get started in the ground and snowfall after the fact will do little to prevent it from penetrating deeper once that process has begun.

The condition of a road’s asphalt will help to determine the amount of damage that may occur. New asphalt will be more resistant to water infiltration. Asphalt that has cracks from age, previous frosts and cuts from construction or patches will be less resistant to water. When the water gets into these it freezes, expands and separates which causes the asphalt to “pop” up creating potholes.

As traffic drives over these little cracks and holes, they chip away at the edges and the holes get bigger at first, and then deeper until sometimes they turn into the crushed stone beneath the pavement. This is never good for the road or the public and poses an unsafe condition to both.


New Rules of the Road for Work Zone Safety

 As unlikely as it may seem today, before we know it spring will be here, and road crews will be hard at work repairing and improving our roads to make them safer for all of us. National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, beginning March 31, aims to keep them safer while they’re out there. To help, Vermont law now prohibits the use of handheld portable electronic devices (including cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, tablets and laptops) while operating a moving vehicle in a work zone, except for certain emergency communications. Penalties range from $100 to $200 and 2 points for a first violation, and from $250 to $500 and 5 points for subsequent violations. But far worse than a stiff penalty is the risk that road workers may be injured or killed. 

Slow down! Speed limits are reduced and fines for speeding are doubled in work zones for a good reason:  to protect the workers.

Do NOT use handheld devices; it’s illegal in Vermont, except for certain emergency communications.

Turn on headlights for better visibility.
Information, tips and reminders from those who work to keep Vermont drivers safe

– VT State Police, VT Department of Motor Vehicles, VT Agency of Transportation, VT Sheriffs Association, and the AARP Driver Safety Program.

SOURCE: Justin Rabidoux, Director of Public Works