Professor advocates for a pothole-free world

Pothole Whisperer shares insight

Potholes cost Michigan drivers thousands in damage to their cars and trucks. After a brutal winter, rough roads have many calling for immediate action.
 
As the premier aficionado on potholes in and out of Lawrence Tech University, Dr. Nishantha Bandara is a bit of a dreamer, but his vision of a pothole-free world is rooted in cold hard facts.
 
"Ice takes more space than water, so every road has cracks and water seeps through and stays under the pavement surface" Bandara said. 
 
He says roads built decades ago without proper drainage plus funding cuts for yearly asphalt patching are to blame. His solution is simple: give the water a place to go. 
 
"Building the road surface on a drainable base - that means taking water out so there is nothing to freeze," Bandara said. 
 
He also says steel rods used to hold concrete together could be replaced with more expensive carbon fiber that won't rust.
 
The Michigan Department of Transportation and local road commissions are looking to use new technology for upcoming projects, but it's a slow go after the worst winter in more than a hundred years.
 
Dr. Bandara, who spent years as a design chief, now has a similar challenge overseen by the governor. He says "the state of Michigan is funding this research."
 
That research includes looking down into the ground using lime and other by products with clay to strengthen the surface we build roads on.
 
As with many modern answers, money is a huge hurdle to overcome and funding will be a challenge as more advanced technology becomes available. 
Print this article Back to Top

Comments