Bangor is seeing more potholes than in a long time this winter.

More than ever? Maybe? Maybe Not? We will see.

We are not finished with potholes until the weather warms up enough that water freezing is no longer an issue.

Potholes are caused by moisture. Water enters the spider cracks in pavement and seeps in. Weather gets cold freezing that water and the pavement breaks down.

Potholes mostly occur near the end of winter, but in January and February we had varying temperatures, so we dealt with more potholes earlier in the season.

This has been a very busy year for the City of Bangor Public Works and their effort to fill and fix potholes.

The City website has a place to report new potholes that you encounter.

Director of Public Works Aaron Huotari shares some numbers to ponder.

Last year the city received 50 reports of potholes in Bangor. The previous year that number was 97. Back to the Winter of 2018-2019 the number was 311. So far in January and  February, 376 potholes have been reported to the City’s official site.

That is the most common way for citizens to tip off the city about potholes they have encountered, Huotari said.

Citizens like to share their feelings with us.

And the Public Works Department responds and gets to the potholes as timely as they can.

To the tune of using 189 tons of polymer patch. That’s 378,000 pounds of product. Huotari said the Maine-made product bonds better with the pavement in cold weather. So far in January and February, 1,760 hours of labor have gone into pothole repair, he said.

So, yes it is a big project every winter, and even more so this season.

And as expected the streets with the most traffic -- streets like Ohio Street, Essex Street, and State Street -- have more potholes.

Huotari said roads will last about 10 years before they need to be repaved. He said a master list of paving projects is available on the city's website.

And to address a common complaint about the roads around the Bangor Mall being in such rough shape, those are private roads and not repaired by the City of Bangor.

Aaron again

It would be inappropriate to use tax payer funds to repair roads that the City does not own

Scott Miller
Scott Miller

Aaron also told me about a product that is being tested in warmer climates that has an expectation for a longer life than asphalt pavement and it is made from recycled plastic. So far, the experiment to determine if it would be feasible in a Maine winter is inconclusive.

Here is to being cautious as you approach standing water in the road. It might be a new pothole you didn’t realize was there.

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