Mayor’s office issues warning about frost heaves on city roads

The mayor’s office has issued a statement to residents about the city’s roads and frost heaves.

The release explained, “The historically low temperatures being experienced throughout Connecticut for much of the winter, especially the month of February are a direct contributor to both the number and severity of frost heaves on city roads.”

The release explained: “Frost heaves are a result of frozen soil swelling beneath the roadway. Water below the surface of the road freezes, as water freezes it expands and also draws more free water to the area. This causes an ice lens that reflects all the way to the surface creating the heave. As temperatures remain low the depth of frost increases and the number of frost heaves will increase because the frost extends deeper into soils that are not free draining, meaning they hold water. This water freezes causing heaving in areas that were not subject to heaving under the milder conditions of previous winters.”

The release continued: During these conditions you will also notice areas where it appears that catch basins, manholes, water valves and even some pavement patches appear to settle. In most of these instances, it is not that these structures have settled but rather that the frost has swelled the ground under the pavement heaving it upward.”

The release warned residents that once the ground thaws, “There will be a proportional increase in pot-holes once the ground begins to thaw. The cracks in the pavement caused by the heaving will allow more water to enter into the base material under the pavement. This water plus the water from the melting ice lenses will reduce the ability of the base to carry the roadway loads causing sections of the pavement to crack under the traffic load. This will be the genesis of a new pot-hole with the pavement breaking out and road base materials being pumped out of the hole each time a tire runs over it.”

The city’s news release said, “Residents are advised to drive with caution and maintain posted speed limits. Please report areas of concern to the Department of Public Works at (860)584-6125.”