Monday, January 8, 2007
Major city roads across North America are suffering from an early surge in potholes due to the dramatic freezes and thaws this month, some several feet across and inches deep. The potholes are caused by water seeping into cracks during warm weather, and pushing concrete apart when it freezes. Traffic erodes chunks of concrete from the cracks to form holes that continuously grow larger.
While car repair shops are experiencing a boom in business, city budgets are being hit with the costs of patching potholes. Thierry Larivée, an infrastructure spokesman in Montréal, Canada, says about 20 pothole patrols are working throughout the city. They are expected to continue work until at least Friday.
Craig Bryson, spokesman for the Road Commission for Oakland County in Michigan, United States, reports problems on unpaved roads as well. "The warmer weather is also playing havoc with gravel roads; the top layer of dirt thaws, but remains frozen about 10 inches below the surface. Surface water has no place to go. This creates a rutted, soupy road, especially in low-lying areas."
Environment Canada meteorologist René Héroux attributes the unseasonable thaw to warm winds from the southwest. Environment Canada predicts a new cold front on Thursday.
== Sources ==
Mike Hall. "'Freeze-thaw cycle' leaves hole in bridge" — The Topeka Capital-Journal, January 8, 2008
Bob Scott. "Potholes bloom in ripe conditions" — Journal & Courier, January 8, 2008
Tom Greenwood. "Warm weather delightful yet dangerous for drivers" — The Detroit News, January 8, 2008
Jasmin Legatos. "Relax, no ice storm on way to end our balmy weather" — The Montreal Gazette, January 8, 2008
Shuyee Lee. "Pothole patrols out in force early" — CJAD (AM), January 8, 2008
Ray Levato. "Today's record temps equal more potholes" — WHEC-TV, January 7, 2008
"Potholes Make For Rough Ride For Boston Drivers" — WCVB-TV, January 7, 2008
Brandy Donaldson. "Weather creates ‘significant pothole problem’" — Quad-City Times, January 6, 2008