Archive for Friday, February 18, 2011

Fewer freeze-and-thaw cycles mean less potholes this year in Lawrence

Lawrence road crews tested a new tool for fixing the city's potholes on Wednesday, Nov. 17. It's a $168,000 piece of equipment called a spray injection patcher.

February 18, 2011


City employees John Barnes, Pamona, left, and Andy Breedlove, Baldwin City, patch up a pothole Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 near the intersection of Ridge Court and 27th Street.

City employees John Barnes, Pamona, left, and Andy Breedlove, Baldwin City, patch up a pothole Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 near the intersection of Ridge Court and 27th Street.

Sure the cold weather in January and early February was miserable. But there’s a sliver lining in all of those cloud covered skies: fewer potholes.

With temperatures rarely rising above freezing, Lawrence hasn’t seen the pothole-creating freeze and thaw cycles that are usual this time of year.

“Typically we experience two (cycles) a day,” city of Lawrence assistant public works director Mark Thiel said. “We just haven’t had that this winter. The temperature had gotten cold and stayed cold.”

But that doesn’t mean with the arrival of spring-like weather, Lawrence is pothole free. In just two days last week, Lawrence maintenance crews fixed 444 potholes.

But that’s about half the amount the crews would fix during the pothole ridden winter of 2010, which had days when 400 to 500 potholes were repaired.

“It really is not so bad,” Thiel said of this year.

Also helping to keep potholes from reappearing is the city’s new $168,000 piece of equipment that allows road crews to spray a chip seal-like substance into potholes. The method is suppose to be faster, require fewer workers and provide a longer-lasting fix.

Last fall, city crews used the machine to patch as many potholes as they could.

“The majority of those patches are in place,” Thiel said. “So it is working, yes.”

Automobile repair shops have seen plenty of work from collisions that occurred on ice-covered roads, but so far they haven’t seen the damage from potholes that they did in past years, a few local shops noted.

Still drivers need to be cautious, said Jim Hanni, executive vice president for AAA Kansas.

Along with causing damage to vehicles, Hanni said sizable potholes can be dangerous for drivers if they lose control of their vehicle or swerve to miss large holes.

Here are his tips for navigating around and through potholes:

  • Keep a close eye on traffic patterns. If cars start slowing down or move to other lanes, it’s a good sign that a major pothole is ahead. Also watch out for puddles, they can disguise potholes.
  • If you see a pothole, slow down. Avoid hitting potholes directly. And, don’t swerve around a large one, which could cause you to lose control of the car.
  • Keep tires inflated properly. Not doing so could cause wheel damage or a tire blow out when going over a pothole.
  • Listen for unfamiliar noises and vibrations and watch for a steering wheel that pulls to the left or right, which could point to damaged caused by a pothole. Potholes can cause lost hubcaps, misaligned wheels, damaged undercarriages and bent axles.


whats_going_on 7 years, 2 months ago

We're still in February...meaning a lot more chances to get cold and then warm in quick succession. Plus, I've already hit my fair share of huge sinkholes this season.

kansaskate 7 years, 2 months ago

Don't fewer freeze cycles mean fewer potholes? If you can count the cycles, there are fewer of them. I think you can also count the potholes, which means that there are not less potholes, there are fewer potholes. You don't say fewer snow, you say less snow. However, you do have fewer snow days, not less snow days.

WhyYouSoStuben 7 years, 2 months ago

Awwww. You beat me to the punch. I don't understand the constant abuse of this rule in the media - it is not unique to this publication. NPR makes this same error on a daily basis. GARGH!! Why NPR!?! WHY?

Brian Laird 7 years, 2 months ago

I think that the biggest culprits are retail stores with "12 items or less" signs for express checkout lanes. The only places that I have seen that has correct wording are Whole Foods stores.

WhyYouSoStuben 7 years, 2 months ago

I think the Merc has "8 items or fewer", but you are absolutely correct. It doesn't surprise me that the two grocers have this in common.

kansaskate 7 years, 2 months ago

There are few reasons to let poor grammar slip by, and the less we do about it, the more problems we create. If there were fewer offenses in the world, I would be less offended, and you, Mr. Richards, would have less about which to complain. The news may be free, but someone is getting paid to screw it up. (Also, I do pay for the paper. I don't know why, but they get money from me on a regular basis.)

parrothead8 7 years, 2 months ago

Unless you get paid to be a pain in the rear, quit complaining about reading free comments.

sourpuss 7 years, 2 months ago

I know. You would expect someone who is -paid- to -write- would have learned the basic rules of English grammar (in college, perhaps?) before said gainful employment. I guess we have entered the age of having copy editors who do not know their trade.

sallyone 7 years, 2 months ago

Are they talking about lawrence kansas? Maybe the city has just fixed fewer potholes, because there are at least as many as last year if not more!

meggers 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree. There are a lot of them that were never properly fixed from last year.

kujhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

seriously? does this person ever have anything nice to say? there are alot fewer potholes this year as i've seen in years past. kudos to those who take care of them.

RoeDapple 7 years, 2 months ago

In other news, there are morer potheads in Lawrence than evah . . .

Liberty275 7 years, 2 months ago

More potholes = global warming. Fewer potholes = global warming.

lawrencenerd 7 years, 2 months ago

There are still potholes in my neighborhood that they didn't bother to fix from last year.

hujiko 7 years, 2 months ago

Lawrence roads are in better shape right now than Johnson County. Kudos to the crews keeping it that way.

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago

Potholes and the lack of a good city response to them have been one of my pet peeves for years.

This year, crews came out to our street to fix some of them. For some reason, they had to come over the course of several days, and they neglected to fix holes immediately next to holes they had fixed.

And, of course, even some of the ones they have fixed have become a problem again.

I really don't understand why they can't come out, fix the potholes (all of them) in one day, and have the repairs last.

Does anybody have any explanation?

Oh, and before I get the predictable comment, they didn't work all day, or even a half day, the first or second time they came out.

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