If you’re on the roads today, here’s hoping you don’t end up driving over a pothole.
Early spring is, after all, the time when we realize that snow and slush and rain have been seeping into the asphalt, freezing in the cold and breaking up the pavement, usually as we drive over that pavement.
Potholes cost drivers hundreds of dollars a year in repair and maintenance costs, and cost cities and towns millions, not to mention the patience and goodwill of drivers.
In one town in Michigan, 12 year old Monte Scott counted 50 potholes on his street alone, and drew a line in the sand – er, street.
According to KEVN-TV, he grabbed a shovel and filled one of the holes in himself.
Shortly after that, a road crew did a full repair.
But the Pot-holey Grail here would be to find a way to stop the road from buckling and breaking in the first place.
A researcher at Drexel university in Philadelphia, Yaghoob Farnam, is looking at whether bacteria can help.
It works like this: Road salt stops ice from forming on concrete, but one of the byproducts is calcium oxychloride, which makes it easier for water to seep into concrete.
Concrete infused with the right bacteria and nutrients leads to a different byproduct: limestone.
If further testing holds up, this bioconcrete could mean fewer cracks in the road, fewer potholes, fewer repair bills for drivers and fewer 12 year olds having to grab their shovels.
If your weekend plans are still coming together, can I suggest a trip to Appleton, Wisconsin, where Lawrence University is staging performances of “Breathe: A Multidisciplinary Water Opera.”
It’s going to take place not on a theater stage but in the pool at the wellness center.
One of the musicians said dunking an instrument in the water felt a little odd at first, but “it’s been kind of one of the great surprises of my life that you could play cello underwater.”
12-year-old boy fed up with potholes; fixes them himself (Black Hills Fox)
Pothole photo by Deborah Fitchett via Flickr/Creative Commons