Early pothole patrol due to extreme changes in temperatures
MADISON, Wis. — The extreme weather swings have the city of Madison crews out patching pavement. It’s a preemptive step to deal with the inevitable potholes that are popping up.
This is actually a little earlier than normal for the city to be out patching streets. The fluctuating temperatures are the main reason. Officials say the thaw makes for water seeping down into the pavement. It then freezes and expands causing parts of the road to crumble.
It happens every winter in Wisconsin, but we usually don’t see a big thaw at this point in the season.
There are 1800 miles of traffic lanes in Madison, so it’s a lot for the city to keep up with. City officials say it’s hard for them to predict how many potholes will pop out, but reports are starting to tick up this week.
“Keep in mind. We’re still in winter. So the same guys who are filling the potholes now, if it snows tomorrow, they’re going to be out there pushing the snow around with the plow trucks,” said Bryan Johnson with the Madison Streets Division. “We don’t always have that ability to be out there consistently filling the potholes because we have to respond to what winter gives us, too.”
Madison has six total crews out this week. Three are on the east-side and three on the west-side. They typically tackle the more heavily traveled routes first, so that’s why they need your help when it comes down to the neighborhoods you live in.
All you have to do is fill out a request online. Of course, the city isn’t responsible for all the roads running through town, like the Beltline for example, but they’ll get the information into the right hands.
“Let us know. We don’t expect the residents to figure out what possible agency is in charge,” Johnson explained. “Let us know. We know. We’ll figure it out and get it in the right people’s hands so we can get it taken care of.”
The only type of mix they can use to patch when it’s this cold is different from that of the hot mix they use during the summer. Johnson says the cold mix is basically just gravel and oil. It’s more of a Band-Aid fix until the city has a more permanent mixture to use once the weather is consistently warmer.
It’s just another reason to be safe out on the roads. On top of slick conditions and everything that can happen during the winter, be on the lookout for potholes. Johnson wants to emphasize the importance of attentive driving. Be careful when you see crews out and about. Give them some room so they can be safe, and in return keep you safe while driving.
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