Travelers who have experienced a bumpy ride on state Route 120 lately will be glad to know that the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is working to patch the many potholes that have appeared as a result of the cold and snowy winter weather.
Greg Sayers, Elk County maintenance manager for PennDOT's District 2-0, said his office has been aware of the numerous potholes that recently developed and he has been out several times in the past week to review the road.
"The potholes on (SR) 120 are bad," Sayers said. "It's one of those routes that we really are focusing a lot of our attention on.
"In the last two weeks, it just really has seemed to fall apart. That's what we noticed."
The Elk County office of District 2-0 maintenances the part of SR 120 that extends from Ridgway and on through St. Marys to the Cameron County line. Sayers explained that crews were just waiting for a break in the weather and have been patching for the past few days whenever conditions have been appropriate.
"At this time of the year, we are squaring up potholes as much as we possibly can and using our cold mix," Sayers said.
Cold mix is like regular paving asphalt, but is processed differently to make it a little more flexible to accommodate the freeze-and-thaw cycles that occur during the winter months. It is used as a temporary but strong filler until regular paving projects can take place.
Potholes are caused by the repeated freezing and thawing of water that has seeped under the roadway through small cracks in the pavement. As the freeze-and-thaw cycle continues, cavities form underneath the road that lead to larger cracks and crumbling of the pavement.
Sayers encouraged area residents to call the state's hotline, 1-800-FIX-ROAD (1-800-349-7623), to report potholes on state roads. He said his office will receive the information that pertains to Elk County and will work on fixing the issue as soon as possible when weather conditions permit.