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TDOT crews repairs roads, bridges from winter weather damage


tdot-logo-lgTennessee Department of Transportation crews are taking advantage of the break from snow and ice removal to patch and repair potholes across the state.  TDOT is reminding motorists to keep an eye out for these mobile maintenance crews.  Winter weather extremes lead to an increase in potholes on state highways and bridges.  Potholes form when moisture seeps into cracks in the pavement, then freezes and thaws causing the cracks to expand.  The constant pounding of traffic loosens the pavement which causes it to crumble creating the pothole.

“Winter and early spring are the time when we see potholes form.  We may have temperatures in the fifties during the day and sub freezing temperatures at night.  This temperature variation causes a lot of expanding and contracting of the asphalt,” said Paul Degges, TDOT Chief Engineer.  “Our maintenance forces are working everyday to repair and patch potholes.”

TDOT spends approximately $3 million annually on statewide pothole repair.  March and April are typically the busiest time for pothole repairs in Tennessee.  Maintenance crews fill potholes using either hot asphalt mix or a cold mix asphalt.  During the cold months of the year most asphalt plants close because of temperature restrictions for highway paving.  If hot asphalt is not available, the department must use the less dependable cold asphalt mix to temporarily repair the pothole, which can result in a rougher ride.

“Our main goal is to repair potholes as quickly as possible using hot asphalt mix.  Hot mix bonds with the existing asphalt much better and is more durable under heavy traffic,” said Steve Hall, TDOT Assistant Chief Engineer of Operations.  “Our crews do an exceptional job keeping up with pothole repair; it is a continuous job until we get moderate temperatures in the spring.”

Once the weather warms, TDOT will once again begin resurfacing roadways across the state to restore their ride-ability.

Motorists are advised to be alert and watch for TDOT crews working on the highways and bridges.  Tennessee state law requires motorists to move over or slow down for emergency, maintenance and construction vehicles or face a fine of up to $500.




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