JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Department of Transportation is keeping its fingers crossed that significant accumulations of snow and ice are behind us for the winter. But that doesn’t mean the work lets up. MoDOT crews are now turning their attention to patching potholes and repairing roadway stripes damaged by snow plows.
With warmer weather comes the melting and refreezing that is the main cause of roadway potholes. As the snow melts, moisture seeps into cracks and joints in the pavement. When temperatures drop, that water freezes and expands the pavement causing it to bulge, heave and fracture. The wear and tear of traffic on the cracked pavement eventually causes chunks of the road to pop out.
“Think of it like putting a soda can in the freezer and forgetting to take it out,” said Don Hillis, director of system management for the Missouri Department of Transportation. “The can might just bulge, but if conditions are right it will burst causing a mess. That’s a lot like how a pothole takes shape.”
MoDOT crews routinely scout for potholes and make temporary repairs to the pavement. Permanent fixes using a more durable type of asphalt have to wait until winter weather is over for the year.
MoDOT urges drivers to be on the lookout for potholes and avoid hitting them, if they can safely do so. Motorists can report potholes by visiting MoDOT’s website at www.modot.org and clicking the button that says, “Report a Road Concern.” They can also call the department’s toll-free number, 1-888-275-6636.