Under The Asphalt
Paving over trolley tracks back in the 1950′s has made our pothole problems worse. I’m sure it was the old tracks didn’t have much scrap value back then and it was much cheaper to just haul out a paver and put a layer of asphalt over them. Out of site, out of mind, except those old tracks are still down there pushing against the surrounding material. the problem is they’ve got a weak asphalt surface to push against compared to the concrete, brick, or asphalt on their sides. As long as the tracks are under there things are going to be bumpy and the asphalt will not be constant across the road. Meanwhile, the track’s flangeways serve to channel sub-roadway water to eat away at the underside of the asphalt. That’s why the first location of a pothole is usually above the track itself. This phenomenon manifests itself beautifully in a little piece of pothole, patch, cobblestone and rail at 42nd and Cedar sure is beautiful. I hope the city is in no hurry to patch it up again. I wonder if any of those cobble stones are loose?