Fix My Road
By Robert Lovenheim
At any gathering of public officials in the Northeast, you can bet the most voiced complaint of residents is their roads. “When are you going to fix the roads?” is not only the number one question asked but number two, three, and four as well.
As we swing into March, we enter pothole season. Potholes are caused by water collecting in cracks; it expands when frozen, starting a process that pushes up chunks of asphalt and makes potholes. Since 1870, when the first road in America was paved in Newark, NJ, the preferred paving material has been asphalt. This is a mixture of crushed stones and tar that stick together when rolled out by a road crew. Asphalt is calculated to last 20 years, but I doubt it lasts that long in Pennsylvania’s weather conditions.
President Joe Biden established 2030 as the year we will see half of American vehicles be an electric vehicle (EV). EVs are a lovely concept, but what about the roads they will tread? Does anyone give a thought to modernizing the surface that these super sophisticated vehicles will traverse? Any replacement must have a surface hard enough that heavy trucks won’t destroy it and pervious enough that water can seep through it rather than collect in cracks. Outside of the U.S., there is a lot of research on the topic: solar roads – roads made of solar panels that would generate electricity, plastic roads – made of old shopping bags, and waste roads – made from the trash we bury in landfills.
All of these solutions are expensive but so are diners. Diners? With EV cars and charging stations, someone better figure out what American drivers are going to do for the hour their car is charging. Building diners next to chargers is my solution! While we eat hot turkey sandwiches on a cold day in March, we can watch potholes blooming on the highway while those high-priced Teslas bump along at bicycle speeds.
In the meantime, we will stick with cold patching and repaving roads with asphalt. If you notice any potholes blooming on a township road, please contact our Roadmaster at 570-223-5082 ext. 8.