Warm Weather Brings Out the Shovels

But the Thaw-Freeze Cycle is Bad for the Roads

DULUTH, Minn.- The warm weather helps the ice break up, making it easier to remove snow and ice from sidewalks, roads, and driveways. The warm weather even helps city workers remove ice using less chemicals.

Many people are enjoying the warm weather, and utilizing it to finish up some chores. With temperatures well over freezing, ice and snow is easy to remove, and people are able to spend more time outside getting things done.

“I’m shoveling out the front walk, trying to get rid of some of the ice that’s accumulated because of the frozen days, it’s a good way to get right down there when it’s warm,” said Bjorn Larsen, who was shoveling.

But having mid-winter thaw and freeze cycles, where snow melts, then freezes, then melts again, is not ideal for the roads. When snow melts, the water drips into cracks and crevasses in the road. When temperatures drop back down and that water freezes and expands, it can crack the road, and create potholes.

“As far as maintenance goes for us, yeah we’re fighting it on both ends. We’re trying to get ice off the roads, but we’re also trying to fill these potholes that are coming out,” said Geoffrey Vukelich, the Maintenance Operations Lead Worker for the City of Duluth.

Avoiding driving through wet potholes can also help to keep them from growing, since water in the holes works their way deeper into the cracks, when cars drive over it.

City officials ask community members who live by catch basins, to clear them of snow and leaves. Clearing catch basins prevents them from clogging and flooding the roads, which could freeze and make the roads icy if the temperatures drop again.


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