A: Spring temperatures warm the cold pavement, melting and evaporating any ice. This creates air pockets that can eventually cause the pavement to break up. A winter of heavy snow or rain and several freeze-thaw cycles can mean a big pothole season ahead.
A: Since potholes vary greatly in size and conditions, DelDOT uses many different methods to repair the potholes. Crews use a material called cold patch, which is asphalt that can be used in lower temperatures and even in the rain. Actually, cold patch earned that name not because it can be used in lower temperatures, but because of the relatively low temperatures needed to produce the material.
Cold patch is used because through its chemistry, it actually remains pliable over time, whereas regular hot-mix hardens over time. Our crews use cold patch throughout the year, when we need to fill holes temporarily until a more permanent patch can be placed.
A: Yes. Locations that would take priority would be those that present a safety concern and are often areas of high traffic volume or speed, but we still review/address locations that may not meet these criteria.
A: DelDOT has budgeted $6.3 million for road patching across the state in Fiscal Year 2018.
Overall, DelDOT's pavement management program considers typical deterioration rates which would account for the harsh winters. By using open-ended contracts, it gives DelDOT the flexibility to have major problems resolved quickly.
For background: DelDOT's budget and the "State budget" are not the same thing. DelDOT's Transportation Trust Fund is separate from the state General Fund. But both are certainly impacted. Similar to snow removal, when there is a need for a repair we fix it. Leaving a problem to get worse, or allowing something to deteriorate to a point that a road surface is unusable, is not how DelDOT operates.
A: Not typically, federal funds are restricted and can only be used on federally eligible roads. Likewise, they can only be used primarily on capital improvements not operating expenses (such as cold patch).
Crews will rapidly investigate each report and will schedule repairs according to the severity of the pothole and according to the available resources.
If the pothole is on a street that is maintained by a town or city, call the public works or city manager's office in that location. However, some city streets are maintained by DelDOT. If you are unsure, you may call DelDOT at 760.2080.
A: Yes. Roads with high traffic volumes have more potholes because of the amount of use. Bridges and ramps, which receive heavy doses of snow-removal chemicals in the winter, are more prone to potholes.
A: Microsurfacing is a thin, tough layer of asphalt emulsion containing aggregate (rocks), water and mineral fillers. It is used to seal cracks and prevent moisture from penetrating the road base. Typically, half of a road is closed at a time for microsurfacing. The length of time the road is closed depends on air temperature and humidity and whether one or two passes of microsurfacing is applied.
A: This is the ideal time to apply microsurfacing. This process is often most effective when the existing hot-mix surface is 5-7 years old and showing only minimal signs of distress. If the roadway does exhibit signs of distress, we must first patch and crack-seal the major problems, prior to applying the microsurface.
A: Microsurfacing provides a smoother road surface and less loose material than traditional surface treatment, such as tar and chip. It is primarily used for preservation of existing hot-mix roadways, which is important as transportation officials look for cost-effective ways to stretch their pavement funding.
A: When a road is first microsurfaced, it may present an initially rougher driving surface. This somewhat abrasive surface creates a more skid-resistant surface, thus increasing the safety of the road itself. However, as cars travel over the road, the stones and materials become compressed and smoother, ultimately resulting in a road surface that is nearly as smooth as traditional asphalt hot-mix overlay, but still course enough to improve skid resistance.
A: Yes. As part of the agreement with DelDOT, the contractor doing the work is obligated to give affected residents at least 48 hours notice of nearby micro-surfacing. The contractor will often hang a note on the doorknob of nearby homes. In addition, DelDOT issues press releases detailing where and when the micro-surfacing will occur. To view these press releases, go to www.deldot.gov Below is the text from a door hanger used to notify resident of a recent project:
As a reminder, between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM, (weather permitting), your road will be given a new surface. It is called Microsurfacing - a thin, tough layer of asphalt emulsion containing aggregate (rocks), water and mineral fillers. It is used to seal cracks and prevent moisture from penetrating the road base.
This application will stick to vehicles, shoes, and clothing. Please DO NOT drive on it with your car, walk on it, or ride your bicycle on it until the surface is completely dry. It takes about an hour to dry, depending on air temperature and humidity. Also, please DO NOT use your lawn sprinkler during this process.
The contractor (name and address here) will be closing one side of the road, at the time, with flaggers to direct traffic. Emergency vehicles will have access at any time. Local residences need to be aware of the possibility of a one-hour delay and plan accordingly.
The Delaware Department of Transportation and the contractor would like to thank you for your cooperation.
If you have any further questions please call the Delaware Department of Transportation, Public Relations Office at 800.652.5600 or 302.760.2080.