BRUNSWICK — First, we had the arctic cold. Now, we are dealing with warmer temperatures and rain.
This combination leads to the bane of motorists: potholes.
State and local officials are warning motorists to watch out for rough travel as workers try to tackle the marred roads as best as possible.
According to Nino Piccoli, the service director in Medina, there are around 200 freeze-and-thaw cycles in a typical winter that wreak havoc on the city’s roads.
Repeated freeze-and-thaw cycles along with constant traffic will cause the pavement to eventually fail and potholes to develop, according to Paul Barnett, Brunswick’s service director.
“We’ve actually seen some issues with potholes on state Route 42 and with North Carpenter already,” Barnett said Friday.
Barnett said that cold patch is used in the winter instead of asphalt. This is because asphalt plants are closed this time of year. Also, asphalt needs to stay heated and cities do not use it enough in the winter to keep it so.
Local roads are not the only ones feeling the brunt of the winter season.
The Ohio Department of Transportation has reportedly already used 2,574 tons of asphalt to repair potholes. That’s up from 1,892 tons at the same time last year.
ODOT crews have spent more than 39,000 hours patching potholes this winter, according figures released by the state agency Friday.
“Our crews have been working around the clock to ensure our roads are as safe as possible,” ODOT’s Director Jack Marchbanks said in a statement.
“When they aren’t spending 12 hours in a truck plowing snow, they’re working on the roadway patching potholes.”
There is an actual science behind why potholes are so prevalent in this area, particularly during the winter season when the freeze-and-thaw cycle weakens the pavement.
When water seeps into cracks in the pavement, it expands as it freezes. When temperatures warm up, and the ice melts, the pavement contracts, allowing even more moisture in to freeze and thaw. Add traffic on top and the pavement will eventually fail, creating a pothole.
“We’ve gone from subzero temperatures to highs near 60 degrees in parts of Ohio within just a few days. Mix in some rain and snow, and conditions are perfect for the formation of potholes,” Barnett said.