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Why lingering snow and ice could lead to more potholes around metro Denver

Despite warmer weather, snow still sits on the ground around the metro area. It’s melting, but slowly and that could lead to a lot of potholes in the near future.

DENVER — The more snow that falls, the more likely potholes will start forming around the city.

Here's a look at why:

Throughout the year, tiny cracks form on well-traveled roads around Denver. A week ago, a winter storm brought more than a foot of snow to many parts of the metro area. 

Since then, there have been several warm days, allowing the snow to melt and make its way through those cracks into the ground below.

Credit: KUSA

Then at night, temperatures drop below freezing, and that water turns to ice. As the ice forms, it expands, pushing the dirt out of its way. 

Credit: KUSA

The next day, temperatures warm up, and the ice thaws. Water doesn’t take up as much space, so the ground erodes away.

Credit: KUSA

It can take several days to melt off all the snow. This constant freezing and melting process can create big pockets underneath the road. The more snowstorms there are and the longer it takes to melt off the snow, the bigger the problems become beneath the surface. 

Credit: KUSA

Eventually, without the support of sand and gravel, the pavement will break as cars travel over it, causing potholes to form all around the city.

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