In spite of a winter that Londonderry Public Works Director Janusz Czyzowski said had 36 snow events, the roads remain in pretty good shape.
“I think the roads faired pretty good,” Czyzowski said. “There are usually a high amount of frost heaves – right now they are down and obviously when you have the frost heave cycle, we develop more cracks, but right now they are down and we are looking at the shoulders. The last couple of storms we had a little bit of wash-out, nothing major, so that’s what we’re doing this spring, cleaning the shoulders and looking at what we’ll have to repair over the summer.
“The winter was pretty severe,” Czyzowski said, with quite a few more snow events than normal.
“We plowed 95 inches of snow,” he said of the winter just past. “It adds up when we keep the statistics of every storm. Normally we prepare for 20 to 22 storms a season, which is pretty much average of what we get a year, but this year it was 36 times. People might not realize but if there’s just a little bit of ice or snow, we still have to respond to it.”
As for potholes, Czyzowski said there aren’t that many.
“When I drive through Manchester and I see how beat up the roads are over there and in other towns, we don’t have as many potholes,” he said. “We have frost heaves, but they went down. I don’t think we have too many holes that need to be repaired.”
He acknowledged that Gilcreast Road from Pillsbury to Nashua roads was in need of work.
“We repaired a little bit during the winter but we need to shim and overlay that road because it is getting worse,” he said. “It is a pretty heavily traveled road, so that one will have to go on a list for shim and overlay.”
Czyzowski said the town went to a 4-inch depth of pavement as the standard for all of Londonderry’s roads and the thinner depths are what succumb to potholes, as water freezes and thaws and expands and contracts more with the thinner pavement.
“That one extra inch helps in preventing the development of potholes, and I put that in the regulations a while ago,” he said. “Studies show that that one extra inch over the three inches helps to keep the little chunks from forming and becoming bigger chunks and then becoming potholes.”
Czyzowski said that for frost heaves, a good base is essential.
“If you have a good base the water will drain, but a poor base, the water gets trapped and freezes, causing the heaves,” he explained. “Repeated heaves will eventually cause the pavement to crack and then the road breaks, causing potholes. If it drains well, it is dry and it can be as cold as can be, and nothing happens and no heaves.”
He said some roads in town were once cow pastures that were later oiled and paved over. While those roads still may have issues, he said the majority of roads survived the winter just fine.