Extreme weather this week expected to take major toll on Indiana roads

Purdue researchers work on stronger concrete

INDIANAPOLIS - This week's weather extremes are expected to take a toll on central Indiana roads.

Along with rain, temperatures this week are expected to jump into the mid 60s before plunging into the upper teens by Friday. All of that thawing, freezing and moisture is expected to be tough on roads.

It's that cycle of freezing and thawing that causes potholes and so far this month, the city has filled around 100 potholes.

"Our streets are doing pretty well now," said Lesley Malone, with the Department of Public Works. "Through RebuildIndy, we've been able to resurface a lot of city streets, so the cracks aren't as prevalent. But we'll definitely see an increase in reports, and we'll tackle them as they come in."

According to the Independent Insurance Agents of America, nearly $4.8 billion is spent each year in the U.S. to repair cars after a run-in with a pothole.

At an Indianapolis shopping center, the pavement has buckled so badly that it's marked with caution tape. That hasn't stopped drivers from getting in trouble.

"They sink into one of these holes and it tears a tire off, that's money they have to spend to have it fixed. It shouldn't be that way," said driver Teresa Stewart.

Potholes are also a threat to drivers and pedestrians -- especially when people swerve to miss one.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a high-performance concrete mix they say is more durable, which could cut down on potholes.

The mixture is being used by the Indiana Department of Transportation to replace aging bridge decks. It could also make roads last longer.

"What this allows us to do is to reduce some of those cracks and make it harder for water to get into the system," said Purdue professor Jason Weiss.

For now, the damaging result of the cycle of freezing and thawing is expected to soon show up on Indiana streets.

Click here to report a pothole that needs repaired.

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