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No Quick Fix for Potholes & Mud Ruts

03/16/2010

Do you have one of these muddy ruts along your driveway?

Mud, ruts and torn up lawns, courtesy of the extreme winter precipitation, and maybe some not so careful steering.

We’ve got a pair of them and apparently they’re the new accessory in our suburban driveways.

Now that the rain has finally stopped, we ponder what to do with the torn up lawns — a direct result of extreme winter precipitation and maybe some not-so-careful steering.

I admit, I thought my driveway was much bigger when I was shoveling that three-feet of snow. It wasn’t until the bottom layer melted that we noticed we’d hit a bit of lawn instead. Some neighbors are talking about extending their driveways to include the newly dug space. (And you know how HOA’s are, there are rules about the specific width and surface of each driveway and at some point, someone will notice…)

Our plan is to fill it with dirt, add a bit of grass seed and see if something sprouts. I have no doubt that the kids will turn it back to mud pies before long though. It is just too tempting to dig there!

Out on the roads, the potholes are another major issue.

Driving westbound on Sycolin and along Belmont Ridge Road near the Greenway earlier this week, we were fearing for our lives as manhole-sized potholes seemed to appear out of thin air. And on narrow two-lane roads, there isn’t much wiggle room for avoiding them. The best thing to do was simply slow down and hope the road wouldn’t swallow a tire or two. So far, so good.

Pothole FAQ:

What Makes a Pothole?

Potholes are created when moisture seeps into the pavement, freezes, expands and then thaws.

This weakens the pavement. Traffic loosens it even more, and it eventually crumbles and pops out. This graphic illustrates how potholes form.

Why Do So Many Potholes Occur in the Spring?

Spring temperatures warm the cold pavement, melting and evaporating any ice. This creates air pockets that can eventually cause the pavement to break up. A winter of heavy snow or rain and several freeze-thaw cycles can mean a big pothole season ahead.

The good news is VDOT “has not cut back on pothole repair due to budgetary concerns.” The bad news is that we don’t exactly know when they’ll get fixed. If you’re feeling generous with your time, it is easy to report a pothole to the authorities.

For your entertainment: Phil Itkwick, The Pothole Hunter

If you have those mud ruts in your yard, what will you do to fix them? And do you have any great pothole stories?

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