With melting snow, comes slush, puddles, potholes

“Potholes are starting to show themselves now,” according to PennDOT County Maintenance Manager Adam Elms. “Patching equipment is ready.”

Some folks like snow. Some don’t.

So, when the weather warms up to almost 60 in early January, there are some good things and some bad.

The same is true for entities that have to deal with snow.

The City of Warren Department of Public Works and PennDOT took some time off from snow removal on Friday and got some other work done.

“We have more freedom,” DPW Director Mike Holtz said. “We were able to get all of the Christmas decorations down.”

During an earlier warm spell, city crews picked up some leftover leaf piles and cleaned up city parks.

Even when the work would have been done, either way, the warmer weather made taking down decorations and the “Warren Wishes You…” sign more pleasant, Holtz said.

For PennDOT, Friday was a busy day, but a good break from the routine of plowing snow and spreading salt.

“Equipment cleaning and repairs, training operators on summer-related equipment, working on drainage concerns, tree trimming and brush cutting” were some of the tasks accomplished or begun on Friday, according to County Maintenance Manager Adam Elms.

Generally, 50 to 60 degrees is fine. But not when it immediately follows or is immediately followed by temperatures in the teens.

“This warm-cold, warm-cold is excellent for making potholes,” Holtz said. “If it were to stay this nice next week, we’d try to go put some material in those potholes.”

“Potholes are starting to show themselves now,” Elms said. “Patching equipment is ready.”

Until the current conditions, the season had not been a bad one for potholes. “Warmer winter temperatures have slowed potholes based on less freezing and thawing,” Elms said. “This cold snap followed by rain will likely create new potholes.”

The city keeps a supply of cold-patch on hand. That’s not an ideal solution to potholes, Holtz said, but helps until the hot plants open and potholes can be filled properly.

There is also the potential for more emergent problems when snow melts rapidly — “localized flooding, grates, and culverts needing debris removed, trees falling, and hillsides sliding potential,” Elms said.


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