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Public works crews patch potholes after deep freeze, thaw

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 12:52 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 12:01 a.m. CDT

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A week after a deep freeze covered the Midwest, public works crews were out on the roads with cold patch, filling in the craters that have formed.

The warm-up in recent days has led to some roads opening, forcing drivers to stay alert for potholes.

Potholes occur when water within the road base or pavement freezes, expands, lifts up the pavement and then thaws out, leading to pavement collapsing and leaving a hole in the road.

Sometimes water can seep into the pavement, freeze and expand and cause the pothole as well.

On Monday, Huntley public works workers used about one ton of cold patch to fill potholes. However, the potholes have been small, said Director of Public Works Jim Schwartz.

In Crystal Lake, the city had minor potholes Monday, said Public Works Director Victor Ramirez.

“We’ve fared pretty well,” Ramirez said.

The city has had a lot of roads resurfaced in recent years, which has helped lead to fewer potholes, Ramirez said.

He said with the freezing temperatures expected this week followed by a thaw, “that’s when all the problems happen.”

“We’ll be working periodically to address them as necessary,” Ramirez said. “We have adequate material to do it.”

In McHenry, potholes started developing over the weekend, said Public Works Superintendent Jon Schmitt.

He said bad spots are spread out around town, and it all depends on the age or condition of the pavement.

“We talked about it last week when we had the deep freeze,” Schmitt said. “Once it warmed up again, the potholes would show up.”

Lake in the Hills Public Works Director Fred Mullard said whether a pothole forms depends on the condition of the pavement and the base underneath. Also a lot depends on how well the water drains off the street.

Although the village hasn’t had many potholes, public works employees are watching the pavement conditions, Mullard said. When filling the voids in the streets, crews put in the temporary patch material.

In the spring, workers will cut out the area and put in a hot-mix asphalt, “that will have a chance to hold up better,” Mullard said.

Some places are having a rough time with pavement conditions.

In Bull Valley, some of the roads have become very bumpy, said Village Administrator Rich Vance.

Workers had to fill potholes while prepping for more snow to come.

Vance said Country Club Road and part of Cherry Valley Road were some of the trouble spots.

The village is using a more expensive mixture to put in temporary patches this year, Vance said.

“These are temporary fixes. We still have a project on Country Club Road; we’ll redo that in the late summer,” Vance said.

The village also plans to apply for outside funding to be able resurface other roads.

Vance said Bull Valley is working well with nearby townships to keep roads in good shape.

“All the roads are getting bumpy, and ours are extremely bumpy in spots,” Vance said. “Things start moving around and freezing and thawing out. We knew it was going to be a difficult winter. So far we’ve been doing pretty well.”

To report potholes:

In Crystal Lake, people can report a pothole by going to www.crystallake.org and visiting the “Citizen Resource Center” underneath the “Residents” tab.

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