Sure, the wind chill’s below zero. Your shovel doesn’t stand a chance against the ice buried on your driveway. And you’re afraid to venture out for the mail — fearing the arrival of a “Pay-$72-Because-You-Didn’t-Clear-Your-Sidewalk” letter from City Hall.
But look at the bright side: Your car might face fewer frustration-causing, alignment-adjusting, tire-swallowing pavement fissures once winter starts turning into spring.
“Don’t get me wrong: There’s still going to be potholes,” said Chuck Soules, the city’s director of public works. “When the snow melts, there’s going to be potholes. But, if you compare it to a couple of years ago, I think what you’ll see is a significant reduction in the amount of potholes.”
Credit the city’s ongoing efforts to seal cracks with everything from liquid asphalt to thin layers of pavement to outright repaving projects.
By sealing openings in the pavement and concrete on top, Soules said, the city aims to keep water from draining into the base beneath roads. Such subsurface moisture is what wreaks havoc on roads each winter, by repeatedly freezing and thawing — and therefore expanding and contracting — in an attack that weakens sections of roads to the point of crumbling.
By keeping moisture out, the thinking goes, fewer potholes will be born.
“You’re going to see some, don’t get me wrong,” Soules said. “I mean, people can’t go out there and not see potholes. But I think the efforts we’ve taken are making a difference.”