Winter can be a magical time of the year. Snow falls and holidays are here. But when winter hits, roads sustain a great amount of damage. This is why you see a lot of road construction happening in spring, after all of the ice and snow melts away from the ground. Many people don't realize why winter weather causes so much damage to the road. Here are three common winter weather conditions and why they are so damaging to the roads.
In and of itself, snow is not particularly damaging to asphalt and concrete roads. However, when it snows, motorists often put snow tires on their car or use snow chains. These items help tires to better grip the road. But the downside to them is that they cause more wear to roads. These items grind into the road, creating grooves, indentations and more general wear and tear. This causes the roads to need to be replaced or repaired more often.
The other downside to snow is that snow plows are used to remove snow from the roadways when it accumulates. This helps keep the roads clear so drivers can get to their destination, despite the snow. However, when the snow plow is in use, it lightly scrapes the surface of the roadway to remove as much snow as possible. This causes wear and tear on the road, which shortens the lifespan of the road.
Ice on a roadway is dangerous for drivers. It blends in with the road, and many drivers don't see it. If they drive over icy patches, they can spin out or begin to slide. As such, when roadways become icy, most cities, counties and states salt the road. Placing salt on the road helps to melt the ice, which makes the roadways safer for drivers. However, in doing so, salt causes damage to the road.
Adding salt to a road breaks down ice. But it also breaks down the sealcoating that is placed on the road. Both concrete and asphalt are porous material. If not for sealcoating, they would absorb water. As a road soaks in water, it can begin to crack. This causes cracks in the road and potholes. When the sealcoating is not on the asphalt, the asphalt wears much quicker and needs to be replaced. After the winter months, roadways need to be patched to fill in cracks and pot holes and have a new layer of sealcoating applied to protect the road as much as possible.
The last winter weather element that affects roadways is cold temperatures. Asphalt in particular is susceptible to temperature extremes. When it is extremely hot or cold outside, asphalt contracts and expands. As it does so, cracks begin to form. These cracks need to be patched or they will continue to grow and expand. Unfortunately, it is extremely challenging to patch these cracks when it is cold outside, as asphalt does not have a chance to cure, or harden, when it is cold. As such, many small cracks become large during the course of winter. Once the ground thaws and temperatures stabilize, road construction crews will be busy patching all of these cracks in asphalt roads.
When you think of winter, you probably think of snow, hot chocolate and the holidays. And while there are many positive things about winter time, the affect this time of year has on roadways is not one of them. Unfortunately, it's not until spring time hits and you are burdened with road construction that you wonder why the roads are so beat up. If you have ever wondered why, it is because winter weather can be frightful and damaging to roadways. For more information, contact companies like Lien Transportation Co.