(Tunica County, MS) Snow and ice will tear up a road faster than anything.
The ice pushes up the roads, which crumble during the thaw.
But if you think this ice storm is bad, Tunica’s road manager says the coming storm of road damage will look worse.
This winter has been brutal for not just drivers, but also the roads they drive on.
Allen Lane has seen more potholes this year than ever.
”Driving a truck, it’s hard on the truck. People with cars and rims on their cars, it’s not gonna work out.”
The constant freeze and thaw cycles cause big problems.
And Tunica Road Manager Joe Eddie Hawkins says the winter storms we’ve had will look like nothing compared to the storm of road problems ahead.
”Potholes, we’re anticipating a large amount of potholes… and a lot of road repairs.”
And in the Tunica County, where roads are near the end of their 20-year life cycle, those repairs can get expensive.
Here’s the problem: The soil in Tunica, when it’s not frozen, has the consistency of pudding. That’s what’s underneath the roads here, and that’s how you get big cracks across the road.
That’s hitting at the worst possible time for Tunica, which has struggled to come to terms with lower casino taxes, which hit the county’s bank account.
“It’s just impossible for us to, with less money we have now, to repair the roads after this type of freeze, winter freeze that we’re gonna have.”
How much less? When Hawkins took over the road department two years ago, he had an $8.2 million budget. It’s now just $4.5 million.
So Lane says he’s getting ready for rougher roads.
“You gotta prepare for any situation and now it’s time to be prepared for road work, road hazard.”
Tunica did manage to buy what’s called a melter that can heat the pavement to seal cracks in the road.
Hawkins says it’ll help, but it’s just a band-aid on a much bigger problem.