By Jesse Wood
With the return of warmer weather, those blasted potholes are back.
Watauga County Maintenance Engineer with the N.C. Department of Transportation Kevin Whittington noted that his office is currently repairing them temporarily with a “cold patch” – a premix stockpiled by the NCDOT in the winter.
As asphalt plants begin operating once the warmer weather stabilizes, crews will perform permanent patches with the hot mix from the asphalt plants.
“That could happen sometime this week or next,” Whittington said.
The N.C. Department of Transportation announced on Monday that crews from across the state were working on these spring creations and that repairs would be prioritized based on size, depth and location.
Whittington said it’s been about a “normal” year for potholes.
“We didn’t have much of a winter until the first of February or last of January. Then we got into winter,” Whittington said. “Yes, we experienced some potholes coming but it doesn’t seem to be as bad as in years past.”
As moisture seeps into the cracks of pavement, it freezes, explains NCDOT’s Chief Engineer Mike Holder, and “when the ice expands, it causes the cracks to widen and the asphalt layer to rise. Traffic then loosens the pavement, which eventually creates a pothole.”
The NCDOT encourages motorists that see potholes to call 1-877-368-4968 or fill out a form online at www.ncdot.gov/contact. Click on “County Contacts” on the left side of your screen and then select your county.
The NCDOT also urges motorists to stay aware of potential potholes on the road, and even offered these tips, via AAA, when encountering a pothole:
- Avoid swerving. Swerving can cause loss of vehicle control;
- Slow down. Carefully avoid impact with potholes. If a pothole can’t be avoided slow down. Hitting a pothole at a high speed increases the chance of damage to the vehicle, and losing control;
- Roll through. Rolling through the pothole is better than braking rapidly;
- Properly inflate tires. Over-inflated and under-inflated tires increase risk of tire and wheel damage; and
- Avoid puddles that may conceal a deep pothole.