Road crews from DeKalb, Sycamore and DeKalb County were out this week trying to patch the numerous potholes that have appeared in local roads.
“We’re out every day,” said T.J. Moore, director of DeKalb Public Works. “This time of year, if we’re not plowing snow, we’re fixing potholes.”
Both Moore and Fred Busse, director of Sycamore Public Works, said they have schedules in place to deal with the potholes in a systematic fashion.
Potholes appear when water that has seeped into the cracks of the pavement freezes and expands, cracking the pavement further. Moore said it’s a constant process.
“Sometimes, it feels like you’ve never made progress,” Moore said.
Moore said DeKalb road crews are tackling high-traffic areas first, while Busse said they’ve started on the east side of Sycamore, where the roads tend to be older.
“If it’s warranted, we will jump to a different area,” Busse said.
Moore said DeKalb crews poured 10 tons of asphalt mix to patch potholes in city roads Monday alone. Busse said they do not keep track of how much they use in a given day, but they have been using a roller.
“We’re taking that extra effort to make some of these patches last for the rest of the season,” Busse said.
County road crews were not filling potholes Tuesday because of the Abraham Lincoln birthday state holiday, said County Engineer Nathan Schwartz.
He said road crews had filled potholes on Plank Road, past Route 23 and on Peace Road south of Barber Greene Road.
Winter is a bad time to fill potholes because the water and ice in the pavement can cause a patch to blow out.
Moore said it is also possible for a pothole patch to be destroyed by snow plow trucks.
“It’s enough to go from water to ice to water to ice multiple times in a day,” Moore said. “That’s the constant pressure to make cracks into small potholes into big potholes.”
And because Illinois experiences all four seasons, potholes are going to be a fact of life.
“There are road repairs we can do, but this is a fight that will be ongoing forever, particularly as winter turns into spring,” Moore said. “Every year it’s going to be bad.”
Busse advised drivers to be aware of puddles on the road because there is a chance the water could conceal a deep pothole.