If you have been traveling on the roadways of northwest Indiana this month you may have noticed a number of potholes. INDOT spokesperson Matt Deitchley says dramatic temperature swings this month has lead to one of the worst outbreaks of potholes some report ever seeing and crews are working day and night to get those filled as quickly as possible., but with 5,000 lane miles to maintain in the Northwest Indiana District alone, it’s a big job and it will take time.
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, forming potholes.
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. When the asphalt plants reopen in the spring, INDOT maintenance crews clean out and then repair potholes with hot mix, providing a smoother, more permanent fix.
For the past several years, INDOT has been expanding its pavement preservation program to improve pavement friction and seal cracks before potholes form. In the fiscal year ending June 2013, INDOT performed chip seal operations on 1,514 lanes miles of state highways and applied a thin overlay surface treatment on an additional 371 lane miles. For every dollar invested, research estimates that pavement preservation saves taxpayers $6 to $14 in future maintenance and construction costs.
To report a pothole on a numbered state route, interstate or U.S. highway in Northwest Indiana call 1-855-GO-INDOT.
INDOT urges motorists to slow down and stay alert when encountering pavement maintenance crews. Drivers in Northwest Indiana can monitor road closures, road conditions, and traffic alerts at any time via the INDOT social media channels: www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest or Twitter @INDOTNorthwest. Or visit http://www.trafficwise.in.gov for INDOT’s TrafficWise Traveler Information Service.