Weather wreaks havoc on Amherstburg roads

By Joel Charron

Amherstburg roads resemble that of a  mine field rather than a suitable driving surface lately.

“Have you driven down Lowes Side Road lately,” said Amherstburg resident, Roy Chapman. “It’s not even a road anymore. It’s so full of potholes and craters that it’s dangerous to drive on.”

Chapman is referring to the 1.3km stretch of Lowes Side Road between Fryer St. and Meloche Road. The portion of Lowes Side Road has become so bad that in some parts of the road, motorists have to resort to driving on the opposite side of the road to avoid damage to their tires and vehicles.

However, Lowes Side Road isn’t the only road that is peppered with potholes. The annoying craters have been appearing all over the region.

“This past year has been terrible for our roads,” said Director of Engineering and Infrastructure, Lou Zarlenga. “It’s literally one of the worst years that I’ve seen in 30 years.

Zarlenga said it is because of the freeze-thaw cycles.

The daily thaw of the road surface, a nightly freeze of the surface and granular base course causes ice formation just under the pavement surface. Each successive freeze-thaw cycle adds to the ice accumulation eventually raising the asphalt surface.

Typically, areas of asphalt surfaces situated at the pavement edge or cut line will heave more than other areas as surface water seeps into the granular base area and adds to the existing formations.

Vehicles travelling on the heaved road surfaces cause additional surface cracking, often breaking through the surface course leaving crater like depressions.

However relief may soon be on the way.

Zarlenga said starting March 24 the Public Works Department would be discussing their capital budget with council. Zarlenga anticipates that they will not get into road conditions until March 25.  Zarlenga added as soon as they straighten out the budget they would get to work on the roads.

Zarlenga plans on making a recommendation for a road reconstruction on Lowes Side Road between Fryer St. and Meloche Rd.

“We have identified Lowes Side Road (from Fryer St. to Meloche Rd.) as being in need of a reconstruction.”

The town uses a “coal patch” compound to fill in potholes. The compound is very similar to asphalt.

The pothole is cleared of any loose material then is filled with the coal patch compound, which is then leveled off and stamped down.

He added that the surface might become rough if the surface being repaired has had prior repairs.

“It’s a very durable compound. It will stay there forever,” said Zarlenga.

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