By Mark Ambrogi
This is prime pothole season as weather fluctuates from freezing to warming, followed by rain.
A pothole forms when cracks develop in the pavement from aging, traffic wear and winter freeze-thaw cycles. Potholes develop when water seeps into these cracks and freezes, expanding the layers of pavement, stone and soil. According to INDOT, when the ice melts and contracts, heavy highway traffic further loosens the pavement, forming potholes.
Zionsville has a 12-person streets and stormwarter department with three in administrative office duties and nine on-the-road staff, said Lance Lantz, superintendent of that department. Taking care of potholes is one of their many responsibilities.
“We usually notice (potholes) before we get many calls, since this time of year we regularly drive all 107 miles of our roads as my staff applies salt and plows,” Lantz said. “We really don’t receive many calls or notifications, I would say two per week is about the max. In 2015, we had only 28 specific calls to report a pothole based on our work order history.”
During the patrols, Lantz said his staff searches for possible problem areas.
“Our trouble spots are the typical ones where streets show more wear and tear with more opportunity to permit water intrusion, the number one contributor to spot failure,” Lantz said. “In this case, the best defense is always a good offense, and during the summer construction season we try to repair and crack-seal as may roads as possible to reduce the areas where water can infiltrate. During the winter months we routinely patrol for areas needing repair as well as rely on the public to let us know what they encounter while driving our roads.”
Potholes can be reported through Zionsville-in.gov by clicking on contact at the bottom of any page or calling 873-4544.
INDOT officials said its crews are focused on maintaining and protecting the state’s roads and bridges. INDOT’s sealing and repaving projects are designed to keep water from seeping into the pavement and forming potholes.
During 2015, INDOT reported repaving 1,720 miles of state highways, chip-sealed 1,250 miles and crack sealed an additional 5,670 miles.
Motorists who want to report a pothole on a numbered state route, interstate or U.S. highway can follow the “Report a Concern” link at potholes.indot.in.gov.