Frost Heaves Cause Things To Go Bump in the Road

ELLSWORTH — Here’s a tip for vacationing in a recession: skip the amusement park and take the kids for a drive.

Sailing over frost heaves and plunging into potholes should deliver all the thrills of a roller coaster ride. The fun is pretty much free, except for the flat tires, bent rims and shock and strut damage, of course.

This year’s warm weather meant the bumps, dips and cracks in the road appeared earlier than usual.

“We’re probably like two weeks ahead of schedule,” said Brian Burne, a highway maintenance engineer with the Maine Department of Transportation. “The rains that are coming aren’t going to help anything.”

Moisture seeps through cracks in the road and saturates the soil underneath. Vehicle traffic stresses the weakened road, causing potholes to form.

Burne said that each year the state budgets about $4.8 million to repair winter-damaged roads. About $1.3 million of that is spent in Region Four, which includes the Bangor area and Hancock County, he said.

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