|Trent Avenue, also known as SR 290, near the intersection
with Starr Road.
It’s not the freeze-thaw cycle that Mississippi officials are blaming for the poor condition of their highways, but drought. Yes, drought, according to the SunHerald, allegedly the culprit behind cracked highways there.
Maintenance crews are patching the worst cracks, but long-term repairs will have to wait until the state has some significant rainfall, Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) employees say.
Mississippi soils contain several types of clay that expand when wet and contract when dry, similar to the freeze-thaw cycle that messes up our local roads. The shrinking causes a void between the clay and the asphalt and when traffic goes over it multiple times, cracks form.
Cracks are particularly bad on rural highways lined with trees. MDOT says a mature tree can absorb 100 gallons or more of water on a hot day.