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Extreme change in temperatures to leave Indiana roads more prone to potholes

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – While many people will be relieved to get above freezing in the next few days, the change in temperatures will also leave roads more prone to potholes.

"Freezing and thawing are part of pothole formation," said John Haddock, a professor with the Lyles School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University. "The temperatures only need change between below and above freezing for the effect to work. From a pavement standpoint, it makes no difference if the temperature goes from below freezing to 35 or 40 degrees. It only matters that a thaw begins to take place.”

With temperatures changing by more than 50 degrees in one week, drivers are hoping the roads will hold up better than last winter.

"Last year was bad," said driver William Baldwin. "(I) lost three tires.”

DPW is hoping the same. This year they’ll have a new street maintenance team, and just last week the department announced an investment of $126 million into dozens of road projects for 2019. One of those projects includes a stretch of Mitthoeffer Road.

"These streets that are in the worst condition are going to be resurfaced and will not be strip patched," said DPW Director Dan Parker. "There’s no sense in strip patching a street that’s going to be resurfaced later on.”

INDOT is also getting ready. Despite the extreme cold, crews filled more than 50 maintenance requests yesterday, and will be ready next week to fill more.

“As the weather gets warmer and we see opportunity, we’ll be out on the roads trying to fix that problem,” said Mallory Duncan, a media director for INDOT.

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