By Dar Danielson (Radio Iowa)
If you’ve hit some rough stretches on state highways recently, you are not alone.
The Iowa Transportation Commission has approved amending its budget to spend $15 million on weather repairs. The DOT’s Stuart Anderson says there’s been an above-normal number of freeze-thaw cycles this winter that are causing issues.””We are seeing some significant impacts on some pavements,” he says.
Anderson says they checked with maintenance districts across the state and believe this money will help take care of some of the issues. “It certainly won’t address all the damage we’re seeing — but it’ll get the worst of it,” Anderson says. “The last time, we had something like this was about four years ago, March 2019, we came out of a pretty unique winter season and saw the same kind of damage.” Anderson says the Transportation Commission took the same action and spent 12 million in winter repairs in 2019.
He says there are issues across the state and the money will be spread evenly among the 6 maintenance districts with each getting $2.5 million to do the repairs. The DOT’s chief engineer, Mitch Dillavou says the conditions have been the worst you can get for pavement issues.
“It’s the uniqueness of this winter where you get those fluctuations in temperatures, plus we’ve had a lot of moisture,” Dillavou says. He says his perfect winter conditions for pavement are when the temperature drops and stays the same and there’s not a lot of melting water or rain that gets into pavement cracks.
Dillavou says the older pavement has more problems. “Our newer roads have a good drainable base and better infrastructure. So, it’s our older pavements that you’ve heard just talked about quite a bit,” he says. “it gets down in there, and then it freezes, and then it just starts cracking. and things move.” Anderson says the $15 million will be moved out of the next fiscal year budget to allow them to handle the repairs as soon as they can.