Archive for Thursday, January 7, 2010

Once snow melts, potholes expected to be less prevalent than years past

Maintenance aims to keep roads from crumbling

Vehicles travel Thursday on Iowa Street near 15th Street in this file photo.

Vehicles travel Thursday on Iowa Street near 15th Street in this file photo.

January 7, 2010


Additional info

Some roads still impassable

Potholes expected to be less prevalent than years past

Your car might face fewer frustration-causing, alignment-adjusting, tire-swallowing pavement fissures once winter starts turning into spring. Enlarge video

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.”


nouseforaname 8 years, 4 months ago

I'm still wondering why Lawrence doesn't just repave their streets when they get to be crater city. Is it a lack of funding or something else that prevents this? Seriously; I've seen some CANYONS in the streets of Lawrence.

Kent Fisher 8 years, 4 months ago

nouseforaname, you nailed it. Due to the state of the city budget this year, the city opted to seal streets instead of replacing/resurfacing.

hujiko 8 years, 4 months ago

As long as the temperature keeps from swinging between above and below freezing then there will be less potholes, I fear it doesn't matter what feeble attempts the city takes to "prevent" potholes, water will ALWAYS find a way.

0426Roses 8 years, 4 months ago

Anyone else play the Jurassic Park music in their head after the last post?

cowboy 8 years, 4 months ago

Ever seen the movie Idiocracy , our streets department was in that movie.

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 4 months ago

Well, typically the potholes get worse after the plows run over all the patches and tear up all the rough spots. Of course this is assuming the street is actually plowed. Considering the pattern thus far, it is not surprising they are expecting fewer potholes. You have to plow to have potholes.

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 4 months ago

I don't know whether or not the claim in this article is true... but the areas I drive on (granted they already have huge gaping potholes) seem to me to be much better then they have been in the past at this time of year.

I do know that preventative maintenance helps a great deal in preventing such damage and if it is true that the city has done more of such maintenance I guess it makes sense.

I am skeptical as always about the competency of this city in maintaining infrastructure but so far so good...

gccs14r 8 years, 4 months ago

Some of the streets had such extensive drizzles of sealant applied that they would have been man-hours ahead to just load up a spray truck with the stuff and drive down the road.

thelonious 8 years, 4 months ago

Maybe so, Chuck, but 23rd Street from Barker east to the eastern city limits is an absolute disgrace. It had potholes BEFORE the storms - after it all melts, it's gonna look like bombs went off on it. Also, driving into town on K-10 from the east, when you hit the city limits it becomes all too apparent that Lawrence is doing a lousy job of snow removal - leaving the state-of-Kansas-cleared K-10 and entering the Lawrence-cleared 23rd Street is like leaving the former West Germany and entering communist East Germany. What does the state of Kansas do that Lawrence doesn't?

sad_lawrencian 8 years, 4 months ago

I second the motion about the eastern end of 23rd street going out toward K10. I have to drive that stretch of bump bump bump roadway every single day on my way to and from work, and it's pot hole, crack, crevice central. It is in desperate need of repair or repavement. I'm sure it's caused harm to my car and tires.

Liberty275 8 years, 4 months ago

"communist East Germany"

In communist East Germany, potholes drive over you.

Dan Matthews 8 years, 4 months ago

"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."

Really? Don't tell that to us Sand Rats in North Lawrence. We have a budgeoning crop of potholes up here...

Laurie Nelson 8 years, 4 months ago

LESS POTHOLES? Have you been on the detour around the road work in North Lawrence? The street is falling apart between the UP tracks and Lyon Street. And you can't go north on 7th street to 24/40. Because that is closed also. Guess you have to make your own detour around the detours.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 4 months ago

Less potholes! Are you kidding me? Wanna bet?

inglec 8 years, 4 months ago

I agree about the street conditions from Elm St across the railraod track continuing down North's like you hit a war zone! North third is falling apart. There are so many potholes on North third that there is no way to avoid them. The city should of repaired that detour before the road contruction began on North second street.

BigPrune 8 years, 4 months ago

The reason why there are tar filled cracks all over Iowa Street and other places in town is because.......

Smart Growth Ruined Our Quality of Life, All Hail The Sacred Cow Horizon 2020 The City coffers dried up.

HOMETOWNBOY 8 years, 4 months ago

Oh Chuck! You better watch what you say. I have already seen a lot and with the moisture in the ground am sure they will be many more. I bet Chuck has to eat his words. Like the patching of Kasold south of Clinton Parkway this past fall. It was a waste of time an money. The weather and snow plows has made it worse now then it was before.

labmonkey 8 years, 4 months ago

This year, they will only be able to swallow a Prius as opposed to a Suburban.

YourItalianPrincess 8 years, 4 months ago

I have to agree, the potholes through the detour here in North Lawrence get worse each day. They did cover the ones before the tracks, but that tar is slowly going away. The war zone just ahead is getting bad. I did learn years ago to avoid them, but at times it can be hard. For sure at night when you can't see them. The drivers behind me just follow along with what I do. Its kind of like playing follow the leader. If you drive the roads long enough, you do get to know where they are.

I wonder how long it will take the city to fix them? There will be a first time, then a second , then a third after the construction is done. Filling them in doesn't do anything, and isn't it just a waste of money anyway?

bearscouter 8 years, 4 months ago

The city already owes me $95 for a new rim. Last week I hit a pot hole on 23rd Street going east from Haskell. It was not plowed very wide and there was no room to miss it. I need a new $50 hubcap also.

quelestvotrenom 8 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, I don't buy this story at all.

"Trust us! The potholes WILL be better next year!!"

There are already a line of giant potholes on 6th in front of Hy-Vee (that I don't remember being there before the arctic blast). With this kind of weather, not to mention the salting and scraping of the roads I think we'll just be lucky if the streets are only as bad as they were last year.

gccs14r 8 years, 4 months ago

You guys complain about taxes, then complain about the roads. If you want to avoid the annual pothole ritual, tell the City that you'll pay higher taxes for awhile to install Autobahn-spec concrete or cut stone. Once that's in place, there won't be as much need for annual patching. Asphalt is what you use in a 3rd-world country because it's better than driving on rutted mud.

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