DOT: Roads will stay bumpy until ground thaws - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

DOT: Roads will stay bumpy until ground thaws

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- As you drive around the state, have you wondered why the roads are so bumpy and there are so many potholes?  Well, you're not alone.  The Iowa Department of Transportation says motorists have asked them the same questions.

The answer, according to the DOT, is a combination of factors.  They say an aging road system combined with an unusual amount of precipitation and cold temperatures have teamed up to make your drive a lot more bumpy.

Moisture seeps through the cracks and joints of roads, gets trapped underneath and expands when it gets cold.  The pressure from the expanding moisture causes the pavement to bulge, heave and/or fracture. 

Then, when the pavement elevates above the rest of the road surface, it is further damaged by snowplow blades and traffic.  The fractured pavement begins to spread and eventually turns into a pothole.

Unfortunately, the DOT says there is not much that can be done.  They are doing temporary pothole patching between storms, but the heaved sections of road have to wait until warmer temperatures get here and the pavement can settle back into place.  Road crews can then seal cracks and joints and patch potholes with longer-lasting materials.

In the long term, deteriorating roads need to be replaced or the cycle will start over next winter and only worsen from year to year.

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