When driving to and from his home, a Whiteland resident has to make sure to slow down and drive cautiously because of a road that has badly deteriorated this winter.
For the past two decades, Thomas Carlisle has lived on Paul Hand Boulevard, a street south of Whiteland Road that he says drivers often use as a shortcut to get from U.S. 31 to Interstate 65.
The road already was in bad condition, but this past winter sections of the road deteriorated to a point that has become hazardous, he said. With chunks of asphalt as large as a foot wide coming loose, he’s concerned that vehicles could be damaged on the road. Town workers already have placed signs on either side of the damaged patch to warn drivers, Carlisle said.
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Temperatures that have fluctuated above and below freezing, combined with a lot of rain, has led to potholes across city and county streets, local officials said.
“This has been a horrific winter,” Whiteland Town Manager Norm Gabehart said. “The freeze and thaw is a perfect mix for a disaster on road conditions.”
This week, four crews have spread out in Greenwood to patch potholes. City workers spent two days earlier this week making repairs to potholes on Emerson Avenue, between Main Street and County Line Road, Greenwood Street Superintendent Kenny Duncan said.
This time of the year, how long the patches hold varies based on the weather. When possible, crews try to use a hot mix of asphalt, which will better fill potholes. However, that is only available when the weather is warm enough, and communities can face a wait to get material at asphalt plants, Duncan said.
In Whiteland, repairs have been limited so far to temporary patching, but the city has ordered equipment that can store hot asphalt that workers can use to permanently patch potholes, Gabehart said.
But the two roads hit hardest this winter, Paul Hand Boulevard and the north end of Warrior Trail, will require more extensive repairs than patching. Crews will have to excavate crumbling road sections to remove deteriorated material before repaving, he said. Whiteland plans to spend $1 million to repave eight miles of roads this summer, using a $750,000 state grant to help pay for the project, Gabehart said.
That work will have to wait until the weather improves, and likely won’t be done until spring or early summer, Gabehart said.
When trying to figure out which areas will be trouble spots for potholes, Greenwood can usually anticipates issues along roads such as Emerson Avenue that have gone years without any major repairs, Duncan said. But potholes shouldn’t be a concern for drivers by this time next year, since the city is looking to rebuild the road between Main Street and County Line Road this summer.
In Franklin, the major areas where potholes have formed has been along the city’s truck route, along Eastview, Arvin and Commerce drives between U.S. 31 and I-65, said John Gatton, the director of operations for the street department.
Since the start of the year, the city has had two crews focused on filling potholes as soon as they find them, he said.
With freezing temperatures expected again later in March, drivers should expect to continue to see potholes forming in the coming weeks, Gatton said.
The fluctuation in temperatures going above and below freezing is a key factor in creating potholes, Duncan said.
“They’ll keep popping up as the weather changes,” he said. “Winter isn’t over.”
Come across a pot hole you want to make sure local officials are aware of? Here are the numbers to call for local town offices and street departments:
Johnson County: 317-346-4630