Potholes, a major dilemma

by Hillary Husband, University student

The word pothole originates from a dated legend in Ancient Greece. Supposedly, the name came from pottery makers stealing chunks out of the newly paved roads in order to sculpt and artfully accomplish their work. It’s a shame that this legend isn’t true and still pertains to today because potholes present much more of a dilemma than simply locking those thieving culprits in jail. In case you haven’t noticed, Minneapolis has a bad case of the potholes.
Of course, this is due to two prevalent factors: extreme weather conditions and heavy traffic. Over time, the precipitation that gets trapped under the asphalt freezes in the winter and expands, creating cracks in the road. 
As the bottom layers of asphalt crack and move apart from where they once were sealed, traffic continues, causing the top layers to finally collapse in and form those dreaded large dents. Little did I know, before I accomplished more research on the topic, a pothole reporting line exists! 
However, recently a friend of mine called, connected and reported but never heard back. I’m not sure what the city’s repairing process is, but the pothole that she reported is right where it was before she called. A smartphone application was also created to report these road damages, but who knows if it’s reliable? 
Did you know that even your car insurance may cover a portion of damages due to potholes? Then again, how do we prove that our cars were damaged by dents in the road? Would Progressive, Allstate or State Farm understand? Road construction seals these holes with concrete, but it’s so easy for the road to form another pothole, since asphalt is still underneath the concrete. The reality remains that the material that roads are made out of — asphalt — is still the main issue. 
Asphalt is inexpensive and, of course, the government is known for its implementation of short-term solutions rather than long-term, hence the temporary fill-ins, uneven roads and frustrated drivers. A solution? Here’s one: solar roadways. Although this solution has negative connotations because it’s considerably higher in cost than asphalt and concrete, it’s worth the investment. Solar roadways are inevitable in the future of this innovative nation. 
Solar roadways actually produce energy and are made of recycled material. Therefore, they’re environmentally friendly. They also melt snow, withstand weathering and even detect fallen trees or animals on the roadway! Solar roadways would create many jobs and would be a long-term fix. In the end, these roadways will pay for themselves.
Let’s be part of the change now and move toward a smart and durable means of transportation for our citizens and our children. Whether you drive, walk or bike, potholes on roadways have a significantly negative impact, and the problem should be solved now.