South Carolina transportation officials are expecting a rash of potholes from two rounds of winter weather over the past two weeks.
Melting water seeping through cracks in the pavement is the chief culprit. That water can freeze, expanding and creating open space. The road then sinks and a pothole is formed.
“Water is the enemy of pavement,” Greta Smith, program manager for materials and construction at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials told The Greenville News.
The Department of Transportation is still recovering from keeping roads clear during the storm and said it hasn’t begun to address the pothole problem.
But former DOT Chairman Johnny Edwards says he always got plenty of pothole calls after winter storms.
“You always have more potholes after a storm, a freeze or a snow. That’s just the way it works,” said Edwards, who lives in Travelers Rest.
The DOT said about 47 percent of the pavement on primary roads is in poor condition.
Edwards said the state could help itself out by spending more money on maintenance. DOT spends about $275 million a year on road upkeep, but has asked for about $75 million more.
“We spend lots of money on enhancements, beautification, planting trees, stuff like that,” Edwards said. “Putting up signs. We have a whole myriad of things we have to do that are forced on us by the federal government, ways we spend our money.”
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