Friday, March 13th, 2015

Morris County road crews are working aggressively to deal with potholes created by the severe winter weather followed by the recent thaw, which opened up some difficult-to-avoid chasms on county-maintained roads, as well as state and local roadways.

The county Road Division has teams out along the 280 miles of county roadways, with an eye on locating and filling the worst potholes. There are a half-dozen county road crews attending to potholes, with a particular focus on large potholes that could damage vehicles.

 To assist the workers and to reduce the hazardous driving conditions potholes create for motorists, the Morris County Freeholders last year approved the purchase of additional Hot Boxes, which are being employed this season. A Hot Box keeps the asphalt used to fill a pothole heated at the right temperature to ensure a better, longer-lasting repair. Without such equipment, a pothole is filled with asphalt from the rear of a pickup truck, with the material losing heat as it is transported, making the repair less effective.

Residents who encounter major potholes on a county road can report it via e-mail to [email protected] or by calling (973) 285-6763.

On Monday, the State Department of Transportation also announced a major effort to repair potholes. To report potholes on state roadways, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/potholeform.shtm or call 1-800-POTHOLE.

Potholes are caused by a constant expansion and contraction of water that seeps into the ground under the pavement. When that water freezes, it expands, bends and cracks, leaving gaps or voids in the pavement surface. As this process repeats during the winter months and into the spring, pavement continues to weaken. The weight of cars, trucks and buses over these weakened spots causes the pavement to break down, causing potholes.

This is particularly a problem in the late winter and early spring because temperatures fluctuate frequently above and below the freezing point.