Potholes and frost heaves are causing problems earlier this year

Even on below-freezing days, road salt causes ice to thaw and expand the roads.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – We’re noticing potholes earlier this season than in recent years. 22News found out why this year could be even worse on the roads.You may notice frost heaves too. Those are caused by water seeping under the surface of the road, freezing and causing the pavement to lift.

“I anticipate this is going to be a horrible year for potholes,” said Springfield Department of Public Works Director Christopher Cignoli.

22News strapped our go-pro camera to the car and drove through downtown Springfield. Melting snow banks forced two-lane roads down to one. We navigated around potholes to speak with Cignoli at his office on Tapestry Street in Springfield.

“The base of the roads are in very, very good shape, but as the water gets in there, and it goes to the first inch or two, then all the sudden it thaws and the cars start to break it up, then it goes down another inch and another inch,” said Cignoli. Even on below-freezing days, he said, the road salt causes ice to thaw and expand the roads.

At the beginning of Main Street in Springfield, many drivers were noticing a large ridge in the road that Cignoli said was caused by a utility crew recently digging up the road and patching it back together. Since then, salt and the Sun have melted ice, which has seeped through the cracks. The water then freezes and causes the road to lift and crack. When it contracts, it will cause even more cracks in the road and possibilities of the water seeping in.

Typically, the worst of the potholes are in the spring, but drivers are already frustrated with the conditions.

“They’re disgusting. They’re horrible. My car right now is kind of acting up because of the ball bearing because of all the potholes I’ve been landing in on the highway,” said Anton Ricketts of Springfield.

It’s too cold still for the DPW to permanently repair roads, but they can temporarily fix them with cold patch. If you notice any potholes, you’re encouraged to report it by calling 3-1-1. Tuesday afternoon, the Mass DOT sent 22News a news release encouraging all drivers to call them to report potholes on state roads, like I-91 and the Massachusetts Turnpike. That number is 857-DOT-INFO.

Comments are closed.