The up and down temperatures and the moisture are keeping crews extremely busy.
“It’s been a difficult winter so far. Probably the worst we've had in quite a number of years,” said Dennis Lutz, Essex Public Works Director.
Lutz says for them the problem began last month.
“We had that storm on the 20th, and it's all gone downhill from there,” said Lutz.
Downhill as the mixture of moisture and freezing temperatures slowly cracks the roadways.
When water freezes it expands, when that happens underneath the pavement, it pushes the surface up.
And when cars drive over it, it cracks, and forms a hole.
While they may be a headache for drivers, there's nothing the road crews can do now, they have to wait for it to get warmer to fix them.
“We're seeing more of that, not a lot right yet, but we are seeing more of that. We’ve had a few water freeze ups that we expected as the frost goes deeper and that's going to come back to haunt us come February or March. With the ice from the buildup it's really caused us to get behind on everything,” said Lutz.
As the to do list gets longer, Lutz says more supplies are being used sooner.
We aren't even halfway through winter yet but already crews have worked 60 percent of the allotted winter overtime. And used more than half of the supply of salt and sand.
“We've just gone through an awful lot. In three days time from the 20th to about the 23rd we went through about 30 thousand dollars worth of material,” said Lutz.
They continue to receive deliveries of more sand and salt to make sure crews are prepared for the next go- round.
“If it stays cold and we can’t put it down, which we won’t because it’s not effective in these cold temperatures- it will allow everybody to catch up,” said Lutz.
We spoke with a few public works directors throughout the state and they are all experiencing the same thing. Many are worried that if the winter continues like it is they'll have much larger road problems to clean up come spring.
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