Observations of Small Town Living (OOSTL)

Spring Break…Up! I was my first official sign of spring today. The road restrictions signs put up by the county have been installed on many secondary roads. Everyone here knows this process as “break up” because the roads break up literally. Some streets get so bad that they’re impassible except by larger 4 wheel drive cars.

When the restrictions are “on”, there’s a speed and weight limit on these roads. All heavy (and speedy) traffic comes to a halt until the roads thaw out – literally. The roads are now sitting on frozen ground that thaws from the top down. As it thaws, water is trapped on the surface and the road material becomes soft. Even just below paved roads. As a result, heavy vehicles, or those going too fast will damage the road which has basically become a viscous liquid (some might call it mud, and they’d be right). The locals tell me that if you’re riding in a heavy vehicle over one of these roads, the pavement in front of your buckles like a wave in front vehicle as your tires push the wave down the street. Needless to say, the damage can be pretty severe.
So much so that the county comes out an puts restriction signs up warning anyone with a heavy vehicle that they should soon move that thing or it will not be allowed to move until the roads completely thaw. It is then that the county can come out and grade the roads back into shape for the next year.

So, how do you know that the restrictions are on or off? Well, if you see a green ribbon on the road restriction sign, the restrictions are off. A red ribbon means they’re on. Yes, big-burly road-crew guys are out tying ribbons on signs all over the county.

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