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The Snow is Almost Gone. Here Come the Potholes!

Potholes Are Appearing Everywhere

Though Tidewater’s winter snowfall has only been two days long so far, the freezing temperatures have been around for a while and it seems as if it’s been a year since we could wear sandals and shorts.  One of the hazards of winter is potholes.  It’s the cold combined with ground water that cause the potholes that are cropping up on our highways from Virginia Beach to Norfolk and Chesapeake.  Why does this happen?  Water expands when it freezes.  If you doubt this, think of a tray of ice cubes.  You put water in the tray and when it has frozen, the ice cubes have probably overflowed and grown into an iceberg!  That happens with roadways.

It rains and the water goes through the pavement into the ground underneath.  It stays there until the weather turns cold at which time it freezes and expands.  This is still not what causes the potholes.  That happens when the ground thaws and contracts.  Now there is a gap between the pavement and the underlying dirt.  When cars roll over this gap, it causes the road to begin to buckle and over time the pavement gives way and voila! potholes begin to appear.

How to Report Potholes

The Virginia Department of Transportation is the entity that is responsible for repairing potholes on main roadways like Route 264 and Interstate I64.  The best way to contact VDOT is through their website at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/citizen.asp.  For potholes in your neighborhood contact the public works department in your city.

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Editor’s Note:  We originally published this article in March 2015.  We have edited it for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.