With winter finally behind us, the warmer spring temperatures have started the beginning of “pothole season.” Because we had a very wet winter of heavy snow and rain, along with several freeze-thaw cycles, potholes have formed on our roads and continue to cause problems for our drivers.
Potholes occur when the pavement is weakened by moisture seeping into the pavement, freezing, expanding and then thawing. Traffic driving over the roads loosens the pavement further, and it eventually crumbles and pops out, causing a pothole.
I’ve been doing my best to alert VDOT of road problems, but I’m not aware of all issues and I need your help. If you see a pothole, you may report the problem directly to VDOT online here or by calling 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623). VDOT will investigate each report and will schedule repairs as soon as possible.
In addition, this harsh winter has not only impacted our roads, but the Virginia Department of Transportation’s snow budget was exceeded by almost $100 million. Their snow budget is part of VDOT’s overall $1.8 billion maintenance budget. Thus, snow removal has eaten up some funds designated for pothole repairs, repaving, and other activities. Consequently, many of our repaving projects have been placed on hold because money had to be used for snow removal.
Virginia is a “pay as you go” state, so the bucket needs to be refilled. While we sometimes borrow money for new construction projects, we would never borrow money for maintenance. Consequently, once the “bucket” is refilled, repaving projects will begin again. And because the General Assembly passed the transportation package last year, there will be funds for projects soon.
One of the major complaints I’ve heard is the status of Old Keene Mill Road. This is one of many roads in poor condition in our area. The good news is that VDOT has completed all necessary evaluations and investigations on this road and has included it as a priority on the future paving schedule. So once money is accumulated, this project should begin.
If you should have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.