Freeze-thaw brings ‘pothole explosion’ to Warren County

Freeze-thaw cycles are playing havoc with Warren County’s roads.

“We had a pothole explosion,” Warren Director of Public Works Mike Holtz said on Monday. “That’s what happens when you go from minus 8 (degrees) to 40 in three days with some rain.”

City crews were out Monday filling the street obstacles.

“We’re out,” Holtz said. “We ordered some extra cold-patch.”

Cold-patch is a temporary fix, but is available when hot asphalt is not.

Workers will hit the highest-traffic areas first, then move outward to residential areas, he said.

With extreme cold, heavy snow, and quick thaws, the department has been active.

“We’ve been busy,” Holtz said.

PennDOT has been, too.

“This time of year, whenever we’re not fighting snow and ice, we try to get out and fix potholes,” District 1-0 Press Officer Jim Carroll said. “We are seeing some potholes this year. We’re making every effort we can to keep up with them.”

“We get out every opportunity we can,” he said. “Today they were out on Route 6 and 62.”

“This has been a very different winter than last year,” Carroll said. “We’ve had more of these freeze and thaw cycles.”

Water seeps into the road surface. When that water freezes, it expands. Later, when the water is gone, there’s just a hole in the pavement. Vehicles drive over the weakened surface, breaking it up and removing material.

Motorists may call 1-800-FIX-ROAD to report a pothole on a state road.

While the City of Warren has a maintenance agreement with the state, it does not extend to potholes. PennDOT is responsible for potholes in state roads, Carroll said.