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By Ron K W


e’ve just come out of winter - a season where the streets of Chicagoland become obstacle courses. Ice, snow, salt and parking restrictions all designed to make the life of a driver miserable. Of all the things out there in the streets of winter, the most harrowing is the evil pothole. A street that was perfectly fine yesterday will suddenly and without warning develop a hole. This hole is no ordinary obstacle, it is often not seen until it is too late to avoid and it will grab your car and do horrible things. It can flatten tires, ruin wheels, destroy suspensions and worse. Now that the snow has melted, it is much easier to see all the dreadful craters that winter has brought.


A pothole is formed when street surfaces freeze, then thaw and crack, allowing water to seep under the pavement. As that water freezes and thaws, it causes an expansion in the surface crack, creating what we see as potholes. Potholes usually occur in a traffic lane of roadways and are normally irregular in shape and size. They also tend to be relatively shallow holes unless ignored, and the base of the street is still observable.


42 | COMMON INTEREST®


Katz, K


Kiipcon


If a pothole is seen on the City street, the Chicago Department of Transportation will come out and fix the hole. You dial 311 and the City (supposedly) will dispatch crews that are on call daily.


These holes are fixed with a “cold fill” asphalt mixture that can be applied in cold weather. These are not permanent fixes and hence the patched holes will probably require additional work after winter when Chicago transitions from winter to its other season, “construction season.”


Generally, if attended to quickly, potholes will not be major issues, unless it has already happened to damage your vehicle. However, if left unattended, the pothole can and will grow until it takes over an area and creates the dreaded “cave-in”. Cave-ins usually occur when utility services housed underneath the roadway are damaged and are usually found near a manhole or catch basin. Cave-ins, sometimes called sinkholes, can range from a slight dip in the roadway to a deep hole in the pavement that requires immediate attention.


• Spring 2020 • A Publication of CAI-Illinois Chapter


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