Cold and Ice Crumbling Many Roads

By Victor Volland Of The Post-Dispatch Some Information Was Provided My Linh Nguyen And Nordeka English Of The Post-Dispatch . | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 29, 1997 | Go to article overview

Cold and Ice Crumbling Many Roads


Victor Volland Of The Post-Dispatch Some Information Was Provided My Linh Nguyen And Nordeka English Of The Post-Dispatch ., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The mopping up to clear the area's streets and roads of the latest blast of ice and snow is expected to be completed today, officials say. What next? Potholes, naturally.

"It looks pretty bad out there, our inspectors tell us," Art Reel, maintenance supervisor for the St. Louis streets department, said Tuesday. "We'll be sending out crews at first light, and we'll be patching around the clock on major streets until we've got the worst ones filled."

The extended cold over the last three weeks, with intermittent warming, has played havoc with major arterials and side streets alike, Reel added. Wet streets covered by ice and snow sealed in moisture; that got into cracks in the pavement, which expanded and broke down the asphalt. Continuous traffic completed the creation of the potholes, he said. Patching crews will be using a new, modified "cold asphalt" mix to fill the holes, Reel said. It contains polymer fibers that bind the material and provide a more permanent seal. "It's costly, so we only use it at times like this when we need to get the holes filled quickly and can't wait till the streets are dry," Reel said. A couple of water-filled "monster" potholes were temporarily filled with sandbags Tuesday until patching crews could get to them today. In St. Louis County, crews should finish plowing secondary and subdivision streets today, said Doug Lightfoot, regional superintendent with the county Highway Department. After that, crews will attend to patching potholes, which he said are generally confined to curb lanes and are not a major problem. Potholes appear to be more of a problem in Illinois. Kent Muskopf, highway operations engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation here, said, "We have quite a few." Potholes are heavy along Interstate 270 from Route 3 to the Mississippi River bridge, Muskopf said. Interstates 55, 64, 70 and 255 are being assessed for pothole damage and repair, he said. St. Louis' major thoroughfares - nearly half of the city's 1,200 miles of streets - were 90 percent plowed and cleared by midday Tuesday. With warmer weather today, close to the freezing mark, the remaining ice and snow should be gone by week's end. The city has used up about half of its 24,000-ton store of rock salt and is turning away buy-or-borrow requests by other local municipalities that are running low. …

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