Weather forecast is perfect for potholes

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- While you might be happy that warmer weather is on it's way, the forecast is the perfect prescription for a proliferation of potholes.

In fact, they are multiplying faster this winter than any in the past four. Frank Pacifico, Chief of the Street and Bridge Maintenance Division for DDOT explains, "Probably the most severe since 2010, when we had Snowmageddon, and honestly, I think it's probably a little worse, because we've had these major fluctuations in weather."

Simply put, fluctuations in weather equal a spike in potholes, and that is happening all over the DMV. DDOT usually received 100-150 reports of potholes on a winter day, this Friday, they received 400. Pacifico says his crews are working their usual 6 days a week, around the clock, to catch up.

The veteran pothole expert explains what conditions lead to the craters, "The moisture gets down into the ground and the cracks of the street… and then once it starts to freeze , it begins to expand and actually raises the asphalt and dislodges it from it's base." He calls it the freeze-thaw effect.

Here's the catch, no matter how hard Frank and his crew works, these are all temporary fixes. Again, you can blame the weather. Pacifico says the temperature determines which kind of asphalt is available, "You have to have steady temperatures over 45-50 degrees, and then you have to have those sustain for several days before the asphalt plants will actually open up, and give you the "hot mix" which is the more permanent mix." Permanent fixes will come later down the road.

WUSA9 also spoke to the Maryland State Highway Administration, and they say they've expanded their hours so crews can fill potholes on weekends just to try and keep up.


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