Highway Officials Cover How Temperature Fluctuation Can Result in Pothole Formation

Though it’s likely you’re enjoying this week’s moderate temperatures far more than last week’s frigid weather, unfortunately, those fluctuations can cause ideal conditions for pothole formation.

Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler shared why these damp, dynamic conditions can result in the unwanted road hazards.

He stated, “Potholes generally form by water on the roadway and it gets into the cracks in the roadway and then during a freeze and thaw the water turns to ice and expands and then contracts.”

Ritzler continued, “That expansion and contraction, over time, causes the structure of the pavement to deteriorate and the asphalt starts breaking up eventually it pops out in what we call holes”

In a past interview with Marshall County Highway Superintendent Jason Peters, he asked drivers to remain alert and understanding when temperatures rise and fall in such a way.

Peters shared, “Be patient this time of year because it’s really hard to maintain them. The big thing is we could fill potholes this week and we could get snow next week so just try to be as cautious as you can and understand it’s just that time of year.”

While temperature fluctuation can result conditions that are ideal for potholes popping up, Pulaski County Highway Supervisor Terry Ruff added that it typically it takes a bit longer than a couple of days for them to form.

Ruff said, “Normally our biggest problem will be later on in the year when it stays warm for quite a spell then the potholes really get bad but we haven’t had a spring thaw yet, this has just a couple of days, so the roads should take it for awhile like this.”

If you come across a pothole on a county road, contact your local highway department so they can send a crew out to address it as soon as possible.

Contact information for each highway department appears below:

  • Starke County Highway Department: 574-772-3011
  • Pulaski County Highway Department: 574-946-3942
  • Marshall County Highway Department: 574-936-2181

Keep in mind that these Highway Departments can only address issues on county roads. Local road problems should be reported to the street supervisor in your town or city.

Meanwhile, potholes found on state roads should be reported to the Indiana Department of Transportation. To inform INDOT about an issue, follow the ‘report a concern’ link at potholes.indot.in.gov.