Potholes, frost heaving litter Chicago area streets

As if potholes weren't enough, crews are concerned about frost heaving- the bumps and cracks under a road's surface.
January 31, 2014 3:25:42 PM PST
Crews are out repairing potholes and frost heaving- the bumps and cracks that form underneath the surface- as area roads freeze and thaw.

"A lot of road problems right now lots of potholes. I just had the alignment done on the car recently, too. It's crazy," Mike Padilla, driver, said.

The city of Chicago even put out a pothole tracker map to provide a snapshot of recently-filled holes. But those aren't the only problem on the roadways. Frost heaving- or the bumps and cracks under the surface of the streets- are causing issues, too. Three things contribute: frost, moisture, and freezing temperatures.

"The more the freezing goes on, the frost heaving will be more pronounced," Abdul Dahhan, IDOT bureau chief of materials, said.

The moisture builds 20-30 inches below the street surface and then expands.

"It moves a little bit vertically and sideways. The net effect is you're seeing the roadway moving and heaving due to the change in volume of that moisture under the pavement," he said.

If the weather holds, frost heaving can correct itself- until the real damage shows up at the end of winter. The end of winter is something Dahhan is looking forward to.

"I'm beyond ready," Dahhan said.

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