The recent thaws are making snow scarcer but instead of early spring buds, the only things blooming right now are the potholes.
The snow has begun to recede, revealing the yawning divots and pockmarks that will keep township road crews busy for the next few months. In both Woolwich and Wellesley townships, engineering staff have been keeping close tabs on the constantly-changing conditions.
“We have to wait until the potholes are relatively dry for the patching to be effective. We are already making efforts to improve those potholes,” said Woolwich’s manager of engineering, Richard Sigurdson.
Staff are already beginning to work on local roads on days when the weather is dry and paving materials have a lower chance of being dislodged again. As for the roads themselves, Sigurdson notes some roads in Woolwich are better than others.
“We have some challenging areas in the township. Some of those roads would include Three Bridges Road and Whippoorwill Drive.”
Potholes are a particular problem after a freeze-thaw such as what we’ve experienced this week. They’re formed when moisture below the pavement freezes when temperatures drop, forcing the ground to expand and pushing the pavement up. When temperatures increase, the ground returns to its normal level but the pavement often remains raised, creating a cavity. When driven over, the cavity pops, creating a new pothole.
Wellesley crews have also started pothole maintenance work in recent weeks. General manager of community services Kevin Beggs said it is common for potholes to be filled many times throughout the season, as the wet weather can often dislodge paving materials. He added that the number of potholes is standard for this time of year.
“We feel there are a few more than last year, but last year we really didn’t have a winter. It’s probably about the same as a normal winter.”
Most roads in Wellesley, Beggs said, are in typical condition for this time of year with one exception: a stretch of Moser Young Road from Lobsinger Line to Hessen Strasse is looking more pockmarked and damaged due to age.
The road is scheduled to be resurfaced this summer.
“It’s going to be taken care of. It’s going to have a whole new surface of asphalt on top of it, probably in mid-July or August.”
Last year’s winter may have been milder but the roads still experienced a series of freezes and thaws, leaving many in need of repair. This type of weather, Sigurdson noted, is becoming a new pattern.
“Some of our streets are getting to the end of their useful life; they start to become more problematic.”