Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

What is the Texas Drought Doing to Roads?

Photo by flickr user Coltera/Creative Commons

Potholes along a cemetery road in Dallas

Recently we’ve looked at how the drought is affecting livestock, farming and even fishing. But it is also taking a toll on roads.

As Lucia Duncan reports for KUT, “the dry spell has sucked all the moisture out of Central Texas’s topsoil. And that’s caused cracks to form and bumps to pop up.”

What’s happening is that highways are contracting and compacting as they dry out, a normal process that’s become much worse during the drought.

Recent rains could potentially help alleviate some of this cracking, but the roads likely won’t be repaired until the cracks have reached their full size, KUT reports.

A potentially dangerous spot? The point where a bridge meets the road can make for a rough bump.

But some of the road damage is already affecting drivers and needs to be fixed more urgently. “Sometimes the drought will cause the road to slump right there,”  Chris Bishop, with the Texas Department of Transportation said. “So you have a hard bump, maybe even a hard edge, getting onto the bridge or culvert section.”

Read the full report at KUT News.


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