It might seem a little crazy to be discussing potholes when the snow is back but actually the new snow only complicates the issue. More snow or not this is the season of potholes.

Our streets are built in on compacted earth and gravel. Some of our older streets even have an old subsurface of bricks. These layers are covered with asphalt, a blend of bitumen, oil byproducts, curatives and aggregate gravel. Potholes form because asphalt cracks under the heat of the day and the constant stresses of traffic. This allows snow and rainwater to seep into the underlying dirt and gravel. During cold nights, the water freezes and expands, pushing out some of the dirt and gravel, leaving a hole when the water melts.

Road maintenance crews have two different way to fix the damage. During the winter months, potholes receive a cold winter mix. This is a temporary fix consisting of soft asphalt poured into the holes after they have been cleared of debris. A layer of gravel may be added to increase strength and stability, but the damage is often expected to reappear by spring. A more permanent fix is called a hot summer mix. This combination of asphalt and aggregate is designed to last for years, but it can only be applied during dry, warm weather.

Call 311, the major’s hotline or fill out this website form to report potholes. With this new round of snow- driver beware!

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