News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

January 13, 2014

Beware of potholes after deep freeze

Extreme variance in temps wreak havoc on roads

The Indiana Department of Transportation is asking west-central Indiana drivers to be alert for potholes on interstates, U.S. highways and state routes — and to report them through a toll-free telephone line.

The rise and fall in temperatures following last week’s severe winter weather was a recipe for potholes to form quickly, INDOT said in a press release.

“When the Indiana Department of Transportation is not clearing snow, ice or storm debris,” the agency said in the press release, “crews are focused on maintaining and preserving the state’s roads and bridges, which mainly consists of pothole patching in the winter months.”

INDOT said its crews worked at the end of last week and over the weekend to fill some potholes. “Crews are filling potholes as quickly as possible,” agency said, “but with 5,000 lane miles to maintain in the West Central 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.

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, INDOT said.

When asphalt plants reopen in the spring, INDOT crews will clean out and repair potholes with hot mix, providing a smoother, more permanent fix.

To report a pothole on a numbered state route, interstate or U.S. highway, call 1-888-WC-INDOT.

INDOT urges motorists to slow down and stay alert when encountering pavement maintenance crews.

Drivers can monitor road conditions and traffic alerts across the state online at www.TrafficWise.IN.gov or by calling toll-free 800-261-ROAD (7623) for INDOT’s TrafficWise Traveler Information Service.

INDOT is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/INDOT_WCentral and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/INDOTWestCentral.

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