Asphalt plants will open soon, meaning relief for Mid-state pothole problems

 

It is no secret, Middle Tennessee has a pothole problem. On average, TDOT gets anywhere from 50 to 70 calls or emails each day. Most of them are about potholes on I-440.

Each day, drivers dodge dozens of potholes out on the roads. In some cases, repairs made just don't cut it and a complete overhaul is needed.

There are many reasons the pothole patches do not last a long time. A lot of it has to do with the kind of asphalt mixture that's used for the temporary fixes.

TDOT and road crews have spent weeks making temporary repairs, using "cold" asphalt mix they have on hand.

During the winter, asphalt plants are closed. That is why TDOT and road crews are having to use the cold-asphalt mix that is only used to patch potholes when temperatures remain below 40 degrees.

The cold-mix repairs are quick fixes and do not properly fill or seal a pothole, which means that damage to the asphalt will continue to erode as more rain freezes inside holes in the asphalt and drivers roll over them.

"They’re not doing anything but pouring some loose rocks into a hole, and as the big trucks drive over it just splashes out everywhere,” said Jamie Chambliss, a Nashville driver who's seen it firsthand.

With “hot mix” asphalt repairs, the pavement around a pothole is excavated. Then, it is filled in and sealed with hot asphalt that can only be used in warmer temperatures. This type of repair addresses the underlying problems that caused the pothole in the first place. It creates a better seal and lasts longer than a cold-mix patch.

To the north, a stretch of Interstate 24 got some much-needed repairs. The potholes and damage were so severe, temporary patches that look like a fresh coat of asphalt were put down in strips.

“They are repairing them,” said Clarksville resident Tiffany Depriest. “But every day it's a two-hour delay going either way.”

TDOT says the 11-mile stretch of I-24 near Clarksville is scheduled to be resurfaced this year and will be completed by the end of September.

Most of the work will be done at night, so they have to wait until later in the spring when overnight temperatures are warmer in order to begin.

On Tuesday, TDOT officials announced they must close a different section of I-24 in downtown Nashville to perform repairs on two bridges that were just built last summer.

TDOT officials said some asphalt plants are already open, but most open for the season in late March.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Edward Burch joined News4 at a reporter in December 2016.

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