Stangl

Even though we had our coldest night of the winter last week, signs are favorable for warmer weather. The sun is rising sooner in the morning and setting after we come home from work. You can feel it in the air, springtime is coming.

As the winter retreats, one of the tasks we perform is to assess the damage done by the hardest months and get to work repairing things so we may enjoy the warm weather.

The same is true of our communities. The constant freeze and thaw cycles that happen during the winter wreak havoc on our roads, causing cracks and larger fissures and eventually the dreaded pot holes to appear.

I have to hand it to the folks who care for our streets and roads, they have one of the most thankless jobs on the planet. The odds of having a perfectly cleared road that is without cracks and divots are very low. When there’s a break in the action, road crews vainly try to make things better by applying some patching material in the worst spots as a way to make things better until springtime, when a more permanent and better fix can be made.

Often it appears this patching is nothing short of futile, because significant improvement can’t be made until the temperature of the pavement is closer to patching materials.

As I was driving on a patch of bad roads that had been patched, I noticed that the patching materials were packed in as tight as possible, bringing the road surface actually above the road pavement, creating a different problem for drivers.

Being the owner of some very bad teeth, I have spent a great deal of time with the dentist. Like the roads in winter time, my teeth had weak spots that needed to be repaired. Even though the process may seem to be different, they really are very similar (at least they were to me when I thought of this column).

Dentists determine the scope of the problem, remove the decaying materials and replace them with what could potentially be a permanent solution — a filling. Depending on how the teeth are treated, the patch may be good enough. If not, a crown is made to encase the tooth. If that doesn’t work, false teeth can be a permanent fix.

The same is true, on a much larger scale, of roads. Sometimes a patch is good enough, other times the patch won’t hold up and the bad section of road is removed and replaced. When that fails, the road is torn up and replaced with a new one.

Sometimes, roads get so bad it seems like your car is getting damaged when it hits a hole. Depending on the suspension of your vehicle, it could easily seem that you could crack a tooth from the jarring motion associated with hitting the pot hole.

That brings us full circle, doesn’t it?

So bear with the roads until we get to summer, when they will be torn up for real repairs, causing us a new kind of grief as we wait until the roads are smooth and the entire process starts over again.

In the meantime, keep your eyes open for the potholes.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.