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Pothole Season is Here! Plus, Sicklerville Road Section at Route 42 to See Springtime Repaving

Pothole Season is Here! Plus, Sicklerville Road Section at Route 42 to See Springtime Repaving
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Pothole season is in full swing in South Jersey, and in going the extra mile for readers… over the weekend “The 42freeway guy” blew out a tire in a large pothole on Sicklerville Road!  Well myself and four other cars that evening!

Camden County quickly patched the potholes in that area, and then informed me a contract has recently been awarded for an emergency “curb-to-curb” repaving effort for the quarter-mile segment of Sicklerville Road from Route 42 to Hickstown Rd (Wawa).

Officials hope to have the repaving project completed by mid-April but they are dependent on warmer weather moving in, which is a requirement for larger asphalt jobs.  A warmer ground temperature is important for asphalt to properly adhere. So critical is the temperature in these larger asphalt projects that most Northern asphalt plants shut down for the winter months!

Bonus: Facebook Video of the pothole’s that flattened my tire over the weekend. Now fully patched, it was a beast! (Facebook Link)

Potholes Making Swiss Cheese of Roads

Potholes are created by water seeping into cracks in the asphalt and then as temperatures drop and the water freezes and expands, it creates pressure within the cracks/seams of the asphalt, and potholes are formed.

This winter proved to be a little more active in regards to a variety of precipitation (particularly rain) and fluctuating temperatures above and below freezing.

This beast of a pothole killed my tire. Camden County patched it quickly, and will be repaving this segment of Sicklerville Rd in the Spring

In fact, a March 1st press release from the New Department of Transportation states they expect to repair more potholes this season than last year due to recent winter weather conditions. (PDF)

The State announced that starting March 4th they will begin their annual statewide campaign to repair potholes across NJDOT managed roadways, and give road crews the authority to shutdown road lanes without advanced noticed so that potholes can be addressed quickly.

Potholes can form quickly and it’s important for commuters to help the process by reporting potholes that they see.

A challenge for commuters though is the variety of roads we drive on in any given day, are likely owned/operated by a variety of Government entities which have their own reporting procedures and road repair crews.

Full curb-to-curb repaving coming to this section of Sicklerville Rd.

Typically the local residential neighborhood roads are owned by your municipality.

Larger connector roads such as Sicklerville Road and Cross Keys Road are owned by the County. And if a County Road crosses into another county (like Sicklerville Rd), the County responsibility changes!

State (NJDOT) roads are larger highways with higher traffic volumes, including Delsea Drive/Rt 47 and Route 130. NJDOT is also responsible for the larger Federal highways like Route 295, Route 42, and Route 76.

And lastly, toll roads such as Atlantic City Expressway, Garden State Parkway and the Ben Franklin Bridge have separate Transportation Authority entities!

“There’s that 42Freeway Guy again!”… with a pothole flat!

It is said that if you receive damage to your car from a pothole, if it was previously reported and not fixed in time causing you damage, the associated government entity will likely reimburse you for the repair.

But with so many different entities from town, county, state and transportation authority… it’s impossible for me to speak for all of them in general terms and if you have a repair from a pothole you likely will have to check with the entity that owns the roadway.

But as an example the State of New Jersey (through the Treasury Department’s Division of Risk Management) makes it clear that you can be reimbursed for car damages from potholes, as they have an online pothole claim form

Sicklerville Road at Route 42 – Camden County

The problematic segment of Sicklerville Road that claimed my tire is on the westbound lane as you approach the Route 42 overpass.

The County quickly patched this area and will be keeping an extra “eye” on it for potholes returning, until the repaving effort is completed.

There is a long band of deteriorated roadway there, somewhat in line with where your tires would travel (particularly with roadway rocks collecting on the shoulder).

Camden County officials tell me that road paving processes are done in wide strips of asphalt which creates seams under the surface between the strips. Over time moisture works into those seams to form a band of potholes.

The pothole that got me on Saturday night was over 3 feet long, maybe 10 to 12 inches wide and likely 7 or 8 inches deep!

I contacted Gloucester Township Police, reported the potholes at the County website, and reached out to contacts I have with the County.

The next morning I created a video for Facebook as a reminder to be careful driving, as well as to highlight the beast of a pothole.

To the County’s credit they were out there the next morning to “hot patch” the several holes that had formed. They will also check it regularly.

As mentioned, Camden County realizes this is a significantly deteriorating roadway and have approved a full repaving for the quarter mile segment from Hickstown Road to the County border on the other side of Route 42 overpass…  but timing is restricted by the natural properties of asphalt requiring warmer weather before they can complete the work. A Mid-April completion is expected.