50 degrees…sounds like paradise after blizzard warnings, ice, slush, frost, slick spots and icy puddles…50+ degrees means something else in late winter at Lake Panorama.

It’s time for the embargo. When things start to melt over a several day period, it means that many Lake Panorama roads will be in danger of severe damage caused by heavy loads.

Why? All but about a mile of LPA streets are actually chip-seal surfaces. When conditions are dry, they can hold tremendous loads. But unlike full-depth asphalt and concrete highways, the load bearing of the road is based on interlocking, but not cemented together, crushed rock. During the thaw, that layer of crushed rock (sealed from penetration by water from above by layers of asphaltic cement holding together a sealing layer called chip-seal), becomes saturated with water. The water acts like a grease that allows the interlocking rock to move and not be supportive of the layer above. If a heavy load is driven over the area, the chip seal surface, no longer well-supported by the rock below, can give way creating deep ruts and high costs of repair (chip seal costs about $20,000 per mile to fix). That is why the Lake Panorama Association has to declare a 5 ton limit to vehicles during most spring thawing periods. All Association roads receive ZERO governmental dollars for maintenance, it call comes from the assessments and fees collected by the LPA.

 

So the Embargo will come. February 22 is a likely date, which will be announced via the LPA’s website, their e-bulletin system and by signs at every LPA entrance. As an LPA member, help yourself out and be sure deliveries are done prior to the embargo (most delivery vehicles except small vans weigh more than five tons) as well as any materials or propane or other needs you have. The Association must assess repair costs to members who violate the embargo and cause damage..as well as for deliveries of whatever that comes to their homes that breaks up the chip seal and causes road damage.

 

Watch for the official announcement..and check in regularly. Mother Nature is the only one to actually determine the end of the embargo…when drying conditions stabilize the road bed so it can bear loads again without tearing up the chip seal surface.

Thanks for your cooperation.

 

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