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Navigating the cracks: a look into Lowell’s pothole predicament

(Photo courtesy of Shark1053) “Potholes in the street.”

Mitch Becker
Connector Contributor 

With the snowy winters and warm summers in Lowell, it can cause a lot of damage to the city’s roads, but many people don’t know that we can help the city repair these potholes. 

Why are there so many potholes in Lowell? Firstly, water plays a significant role in their creation. When precipitation, such as rain or snow, seeps into cracks in the pavement, it infiltrates the underlying layers. During colder temperatures, this water freezes, expanding and further weakening the pavement structure. Following thawing causes the pavement to contract, leaving gaps beneath the surface. The repeated cycle of freezing and thawing worsens this process, leading to the formation of voids underneath the pavement. As vehicles drive over these weakened areas, the stress and weight they exert cause the pavement to collapse, forming a depression or pothole. 

Whether you are a commuter student or just trying to go for a drive with your friend, odds are you will run into a pothole while in Lowell. You will either end up having to swerve your car out of the way or hit the pothole which can cause major damage to your car. This issue can also be a problem for students who bike or scooter to class every day. TJ Schweighardt, a sophomore student at Umass Lowell said, “I see them all the time and on numerous occasions have had to swerve my car or scooter in order to avoid them.” Since this is such an issue, why hasn’t the city of Lowell done anything to repair these? 

A lot of people don’t know that the city has implemented a form on their website where you can report potholes to the city. This is a great way to give the people a way to help improve the roads of the city they live in. It gives the people a voice to help fix the problem that we all deal with every day. “I think the form is a great way to let the city know where there are potholes around the city”, says TJ. Jon Victorine, the director of Umass Lowell Transit. He additionally says, “The more that we report to the city, the faster they can be aware of these things and get them repaired.”  

Since UMass Lowell provides bus transit to get to and from class, the drivers are constantly having to use the roads in Lowell. Jon Victorine said “You almost kind of get used to [it], it’s kind of an inevitability, whether it be with the snow plowing or over excessive salting, you name it, right? It all adds to the degradation of our roads. It’s about [being] aware and going slow when you’re in certain areas where you know they’re going to be there, but I think we’re pretty fortunate that we don’t see a lot of damage to our shuttles and buses.” Luckily for a lot of students at UMass Lowell these potholes don’t affect students who often use the transit system. 

In the future, the best thing you can do while driving on the roads in Lowell is to be cautious. The last thing a college student needs is to pay for pothole caused damage. Also remember if there is a pothole that needs to be fixed you can report it to the city. The more we report them, the safer the roads in Lowell will be. 

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