Road Work & Potholes
What causes more headaches than rush hour traffic? Well, how about rush hour traffic with road construction on every corner. Welcome back to Minnesota’s construction season. Roads all across the State are put through the test each year with every cold winter they endure. This is the reason for the construction season. Some of the repairs are due to normal wear, some due to work in progress from prior projects, with the majority due to pothole damage and resurface work.
During the winter season snow falls, it melts, and the moisture gets trapped under the pavement. The pavement freezes and then thaws, causing it to expand. The drastic change in the road temperatures combined with the warming rays of sun and the expanding pavement causes the surface to crack. With all of the traffic on the roads, the cracked pavement starts to break up and deteriorate rapidly causing potholes. When the roads are being cleaned up after a heavy snowfall, the salt trucks follow up with a layer of salt that is put down to help melt the ice that can accumulate with the subzero temperatures. Salt can get down into the concrete and corrode the steel rebar which will eventually cause greater damage below the surface of the road. Other construction projects are works in progress such as lane additions, drainage/sewer, bridge repairs, or constructing new roadways. Some projects take months to complete, others take years. Since Minnesota has a very long cold winter, it takes a long time for the ground to thaw so that construction can resume which adds to the length of time for each project.
We all must travel at some point and because there is no cure for harsh weather and ageing concrete, there will be no end to construction on our roadways. The cost for the materials used and the time it takes to get the roads repaired weigh heavily on a budget. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a permanent fix for our roads so we continue to face more traffic and longer commutes due to construction. By following three important rules when driving through these construction areas, you can avoid many hazardous situations. Be cautious, be courteous, and be patient.
Remember that citations in construction zones are costly. Use Caution, near and around construction zones to be sure no trucks or workers are in front of you, drive at slower speeds, other drivers, rough roads. Pay attention to your surroundings and be prepared for the road ahead, read signs… Be Courteous, allow other drivers to merge into traffic when possible. Be Patient, map out alternate routes for your commute, or allow more time to reach your destination.
Tips to Prevent Damage To Your Vehicle In Construction Areas:
• Stay a safe distance behind other cars.
• Travel at a safe speed for the road conditions.
• Pay special attention to your tire pressures. This will keep your wheels and your tires from being damaged from the impact of the pothole.
• Do not swerve to avoid potholes, more damage could occur to your wheel if you hit the side of your tire, rather than strait on.
To get an idea of where the roads are under construction, visit Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) Current Roadwork.