Winter weather could cause road issues

Published 11:40 am Monday, February 17, 2014

When winter finally gives way to spring, Lawrence County roads could be worse for wear.

As temperatures dip below freezing roadways will contract, and as warmer temperatures arrive those same roads will begin to expand. This contraction and expansion cycle happens every year and is one of the main causes of potholes.

“It’s the speed of the thaw,” said Mike Pemberton, superintendent of the Ironton Street Department. “When we have subzero temperatures like in weeks past the thaw is what causes the damage.”

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The amount of snowfall the county has had this winter also plays a factor Pemberton said, as the salt treatments and the trucks that keep streets clear can create issues.

“The salts have some impact because they speed up the thaw,” Pemberton said. “It’s the thaw that causes the damage and then having heavy trucks run on thawing streets can cause more damage. Quick thaw with salt, more damage. Slow thaw is less damage.”

Proctorville Mayor Rick Dunfee said that preventative maintenance is the key to trying to stifle road problems before the bad weather hits. Even then he suspects he will have to deal with potholes in Proctorville as well.

“All the municipalities in the county will have some potholes develop,” Dunfee said. “It’s inevitable, with the kind of weather we have. But, we have a great crew that will be on top of it. We try to be prepared. We just want to keep the roads in the best shape that we can.”

Pemberton agreed that it is all about keeping the roads as safe as possible for residents.

“We, the City of Ironton want to keep the city streets safe,” Pemberton said.