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Public works departments preparing for potholes

Winter weather changes expedite development, officials say

With temperatures beginning to fluctuate local departments of public works are preparing for an increase in the number of potholes in the area. Kevin Flanders. (click for larger version)
February 22, 2011
Warmer temperatures are excellent for melting snow and ice, but along with the rising mercury comes a whole new set of problems for local DPW crews.

Drivers beware — pothole season has officially commenced in central Massachusetts.

"We began putting temporary patches on some potholes last week," said Dave Travinski, of the Sturbridge Department of Public Works. "Whenever the temperatures shift from really cold to warm, you are going to see an increase in potholes."

According to officials from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, potholes are caused by precipitation that freezes and expands inside cracks in the road. As a result, some of the dirt and gravel beneath is displaced, which allows a hole to form when the snow or ice inside a crack melts. Roads with a heavy volume of traffic often experience the largest potholes due to the constant stress of vehicles applying pressure on weak spots in the asphalt.

"For the next few weeks we are going to focus on putting temporary patches on the potholes," added Travinski. "We will put in permanent fillings in the spring when temperatures are consistently warmer."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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