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Dry winter not causing fewer potholes, street cracks

By Scott Harrison
Published On: Jan 22 2014 09:00:57 PM CST

Repair jobs continue to keep work crews busy in Colorado Springs.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

More ice and snow mean more wear and tear on driving surfaces but local work crews say the opposite isn't happening yet this winter.

Seasonal moisture is a factor in the freeze-and-thaw cycles that cause potholes and cracks on streets, roads and highways.  Potholes can be especially damaging to vehicles.

However, a lack of precipitation hasn't resulted in less repair work, said Kevin Cole, a crew chief with the Colorado Springs Streets Division.

"We never catch up," he said.  "(Repair jobs) keep popping up.  We haven't had a lot of moisture, but we've had enough to stay busy."

On Wednesday, two work crews repaired street cracks on Silver Hawk Avenue on the city's northeast side.  Cole said a sealant applied to keep water out of the cracks didn't work well, so workers dig out the damaged sections and fill it with fresh asphalt.

Cole said crews are repairing an equal number of potholes and cracks, and that repairing cracks help keep the number of potholes under control.

"Once (cracks are) sealed up, water can't get into them and create a bad base," he said.  "So potholes are less likely to develop."

Cracks form not from freeze-thaw cycles, Cole said, but in areas where two sections of a driving surface separate.  The cracks can be several inches wide.

Cole said the repair work is less expensive than repaving an entire stretch of roadway.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is doing similar repairs on the just widened stretch of Interstate 25 between Academy Boulevard and the town of Monument.  That will continue until warmer spring weather allows paving.  The work may require temporary lane closures on weekdays.

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