The next phase of work for road crews is easy to predict: when all the snow and ice is gone, Middle Tennessee will likely be dotted with souvenirs of this week’s storm in the form of potholes.
Moisture collects in, on and under pavement. Ice takes up more space than liquid water, so when moisture expands in a freeze, then shrinks in a thaw, a road’s surface can develop weak spots that crumble the first time a vehicle drives over.
"Probably next week there’s going to be a lot of patching going on," says Tennessee Department of Transportation spokeswoman B.J. Doughty. She says they'll focus on the most dangerous spots, the ones that could take out a tire if you aren't careful.
But those patches are only temporary. Permanent repairs are made with hot mix asphalt, and that can't be laid correctly until the temperatures are warmer. So, if a pothole isn’t too bad, it may not make sense to fix it right away.
Both the state and Metro Public Works invite the public to report potholes. If you see one that you think needs fixing on an interstate or state highway, call TDOT’s regional office. On any other street or road, it's a matter for local government.