Road freezing + thawing = potholes

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 5:39 PM EST
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TOWN OF ADAMS, New York (WWNY) - Friday ends the week on a chilly note. Earlier in the week, temperatures hit 60.

The Jefferson County Highway superintendent says the rapid freezing and thawing can be rough on the roads. The evidence: potholes.

“The climate changes, the temperature changes, yes. We see more deterioration. That’s a given fact and it creates more problems for us when that happens,” said Jim Lawrence.

A common weak point is the middle of the highway where rumble strips run. Water easily seeps into grooves, freezing then wreaking havoc when it thaws.

“It can be an additional factor, absolutely yes it can. It is challenging. Do you draw the line at safety or do you create a smooth road,” said Lawrence.

The unusual weather isn’t just being felt at a county level, Larry Babcock with the town of Adams Highway Department says these past few weeks haven’t been easy.

“Absolutely. Potholes and cracking black top also. It’s absolutely something we have to keep our eyes on because we could be tearing up more roads,” he said.

At least in Adams, the conditions do have some benefits. Less time clearing snow leaves more time for maintaining equipment.

“We go right through it, paint it up, polish it up, make sure it’s ready for sale,” said Babcock.

Those restorations will make life easier for road crews as we continue to move through this somewhat warmer winter.