Record Rainfall and Freeze/Thaw Cycle Creating Potholes on Roads and Bridges
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is actively patrolling for potholes on Maryland’s State-numbered roads and interstates. This year’s pothole season is off to a busy start as crews are performing mobile pothole patrols to repair these nemeses.
With saturated grounds from record-setting precipitation from 2018 and continuing into 2019, and the freeze/thaw cycle that is occurring during this transitional time of the year, potholes are popping up everywhere. Each day, MDOT SHA crews deploy mobile work zones and use cold patch asphalt to address the potholes on MDOT SHA highways and bridges.
A pothole is formed when moisture seeps into a pavement crack and freezes, then thaws during the warmer temperatures. This stresses the pavement and when traffic is introduced, potholes form. Click here for a video of how potholes form.
Cold patch asphalt is a temporary repair. When temperatures rise to 50 degrees and greater, consistently, crews can switch to more permanent hot-mix asphalt, which is applied at a higher temperature and seals the potholes.
Citizens are encouraged to report potholes on State roads. Click here to find out which roads are state routes. The easiest and most convenient way to report a pothole is to visit MDOT SHA’s webpage at www.roads.maryland.gov and click “Contact us.” Here you can report the location of potholes by submitting a brief service request form. MDOT SHA appreciates pothole reporting by citizens.
In fiscal year 2018, MDOT SHA patched approximately 25,000 square yards of potholes at a cost of approximately $3.1 million. An average cost to repair a pothole is $95. This includes the material, labor and traffic control during pothole patrols.
While MDOT SHA and its transportation partners work hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones, each driver needs to actively modify his or her driving style to help prevent crashes. Stay alert and look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers. Slow down and don’t follow too closely. Work Zone Safety is in Your Hands. For a list of all major MDOT SHA projects, click on Road Ready, MDOT SHA’s electronic construction brochure. For a look at real-time commute conditions, log onto www.md511.org.