The winter of 2014-2015 is on track to be one of the biggest ever for the maintenance teams, according to a March 10 press release from the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans). And it’s far from over. March is historically a very snowy month, with average snowfall inches almost matching December and January totals in Central Vermont. If this pattern continues we are in for a big storm, as the early weeks of the month have yielded little.
Additionally, March is historically the time for the greatest freeze/thaw cycles. The warm days and cold nights are great for maple sap runs and spring skiing on the slopes, but it also causes lots of water on roadways, which can lead to flash freezing at night, black ice, washouts, and potholes.
According to VTrans, potholes are formed when water seeps into the pavement, freezes and expands and then thaws, creating a void or water pocket under the pavement that allows the pavement to break up. Traffic loosens the pavement more and the pavement crumbles and pops out of the hole. Locations where you have seen a pothole previously that has been temporarily patched will most likely re-appear through the freeze/thaw cycle that caused the pothole originally.