Be extra vigilant for potholes and emergency lane closures for pavement repairs
With drastic changes in temperatures and winter conditions come a freeze/thaw cycle that causes potholes to develop quickly on roadways across the state. Once potholes develop on heavily traveled state roadways, the Colorado Department of Transportation and contractor crews set up emergency lane closures to fill the potholes. While lane closures on major roadways generally are limited to nighttime hours, pothole repairs may occur during the day for safety reasons.
Drivers should be prepared for moving, single-lane closures, along with possible delays, while potholes are being repaired during warmer weather in winter. CDOT urges motorists to slow down when approaching these work zones for the safety of everyone involved, especially crew members who are working to repair the pavement.
CDOT recommends that if you cannot avoid a pothole, reduce your speed and check your rear- or side-view mirrors before swerving or braking abruptly. Hitting a pothole at higher speeds greatly increases the chance of damaging tires, wheels and suspension components. Also, puddles require extra caution since they can disguise a deep hole.
Potholes are caused by the expansion and contraction of ground water under the pavement. When the water freezes, it fills more space under the pavement, which then expands, bends and cracks, weakening the road surface. When the ice melts, the pavement contracts, leaving gaps or voids underneath the surface. This continuous “freeze – thaw” cycle weakens the pavement and allows it to continue cracking. As the weight of vehicles pass over the weakened pavement, it causes it to break and creates a pothole.
If a driver sees or hits a pothole on a state highway, they should contact CDOT so it can get repaired.