Why Valley interstates have fewer potholes than local roads

A pothole on McClurg Road in Boardman ruined 12 tires

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – WKBN has reached out to the Ohio Department of Transportation, Mahoning County and City of Youngstown road crews to answer the question: Why does it appear that all the region’s potholes are showing up on local roads, but not so much on highways?

One early response from ODOT: those major routes are better built to handle truck traffic. The base material for roads like Route 11, Interstate 80 and Interstate 680 includes three layers of asphalt or concrete with asphalt on top.

ODOT Spokesperson Brent Kovacs said that interstates are built to handle heavy commercial traffic from large trucks and 18-wheelers.

“We build ours for commercial travel, to have 50,000, 60,000, 70,000 vehicles on it a day. Then you look at the other roads, they are not built to withstand that amount of traffic or that amount of weight, so you don’t need to build them to the same stringent standards,” Kovacs said.

He also said the interstates have drainage systems to help keep water from collecting and damaging roadways.

“The dryer and the quicker that we can get them dry, the longer they will last,” Kovacs said.

Youngstown Deputy Director of Public Works Charles Shasho said that freeways are simply thicker.

“The thickness of the asphalt and paving sections is different,” Shasho said. “Some areas it’s cement concrete as opposed to asphalt concrete on freeways. But generally speaking, on local roads, we put down an inch-and-a-half overlay of asphalt. For a highway section, there could be as much as 15 inches, 18 inches of section coming down on a complete rebuild of the roadway.”

He also said the highway system, compared to the local streets, is relatively new. It was put in during the 50’s or 60’s and rebuilt since then.

“ODOT has the luxury of having a lot more funds to keep their roadways up in proper condition,” Shasho said.


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