The Crawfordsville Street Department has been extremely busy this winter plowing and removing snow from town. This winter has been the snowiest winter on record according to local news reports. We have far exceeded our normal amount of overtime, salt / sand, fuel and repair parts we normally use in a winter. Through it all the Street Department has more than held it's own against Old Man Winter.

With the harsh winter slowly retreating we are now faced with our next obstacle - potholes.

With the amount of moisture in the ground, along with our freeze-thaw cycles, this is shaping up to be one of our worst years for potholes.

It's important to understand the basics of how potholes form.

First, water (from rain or snow) finds its way through cracks and/or small holes in the asphalt pavement. The water then freezes and expands resulting in popping off the surface layer of asphalt creating shallow potholes usually less than two inches. If the water penetrates all the way through the asphalt into soil and sub-base it will lift the asphalt when it freezes, then when it thaws the water will drain into the soil leaving the asphalt raised creating a cavity between the sub-base and the asphalt, as vehicle tires run over this cavity the pavement surface cracks and falls into the cavity thus creating a pothole.

Now there are other ways potholes can form, but generally the above process is how the majority of potholes form.

Two years ago the Street Department started a new crack sealing program and last year we did our first ever pavement sealing projects. These are a couple of measures we are taking to be proactive in preventing potholes in the future. Obviously, with the climate we have in Indiana we won't ever be able to eliminate potholes, but we try to prevent them and have a good pothole filling program in place for when they do appear.