Summer storms may seem like a refreshing touch to the consecutive days of extreme heat. But, intense rain can damage city roads.
This year’s monsoon season officially kicked off on June 15, according to Ken Drozd at the Tucson Weather Forecast Service. And, the high-intensity bursts of thunderstorms are opening up new and old cracks.
“Rain is the enemy of asphalt,” said Daryl Cole, director of the Tucson Department of Transportation. “It penetrates, causes cracks, puddles, and some grave surface issues.”
Winter storms can cause more long-term issues. They are less violent, and tend to spread out over a longer period of time, softening the asphalt and causing deterioration. Cole said summer storms are much more intense.
The only way to prevent roads from getting damaged in cases of heavy rain is investing in consistent routine maintenance. Sealing cracks and potholes in a timely manner will reduce the amount of water penetrating the asphalt, Cole said.
“That’s what we want to do more: timely resurfacing, timely crack-sealing, timely patching and just doing the right treatments to the pavement at the right time,” he said.
Cole said East Tucson near Houghton Road and Old Spanish Trail had about 2.6 inches of rain last week in less than an hour. The rainfall damaged, not only the city roads, but also residences in the area and city construction projects.
Yoohyun Jung is a University of Arizona journalism student and intern at Arizona Public Media