Why Do We Have Potholes?

To The Reader’s Forum:

We should not have these potholed roads. Every year we have our roads deteriorate over the winter and we continue to do road building the same stupid way. The roads are built using the same worthless methods over and over. When the roads are finished there are small fissures throughout the upper surface. Water gets into the road through these fissures and that is the problem.

As any middle school student can tell you when water freezes it expands. When water inside the road freezes it causes an expansion resulting in a crack in the road. More water gets into the road in greater abundance than previously. More freezing weather makes the cracks bigger, resulting in a pothole. This hole gets deeper and larger as time goes by.

We allow this procedure to happen every winter and have been doing so for a long time. The amount of money wasted every year is enormous and unnecessary. There is a very simple method of building these same roads that is more effective and certainly more cost effective and much more permanent.

I have traveled in Europe extensively. There are no pot holes. Most recently I was in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. These are two countries that were behind the iron curtain for years. The roads were beautiful, no potholes. If they can do it we certainly can. Oregon is a state that does not have potholes because of the way they finish their roads

The roads in Europe do not have potholes because the top surface is real tar and limestone chips or similar stone. We use chips on our secondary roads but not real natural tar. We use adulterated tar that is not as resistant to moisture. The tar used in Europe is natural and is applied while it is very hot. While still hot the chips are applied. This completes the sealing of the road surface and moisture does not penetrate the surface.

Who changed the composition of the tar in New York State, I do not know. Was it to make easier for contractors to use or did EPA or did the state demand the worthless stuff be used to build our roads?

Driving around in western New York one can see our worst roads for potholes are interstates and primary roads. Our smoothest roads are the tertiary county and town roads. This mainly because of the surface put on them.

Our state roads deteriorate significantly the first winter. Why do we not use proven methods that are there for us? Is there a fox in the hen house?

We complain about potholes every spring. It is time to stop this terrible waste of resources and demand our representatives do something about it.

Merle D. Elkin