Minnesota Department of Transportation
Extreme cold triggers the most common type of distress of asphalt pavements in Minnesota and other northern states: low-temperature cracking. As temperatures drop, the pavement contracts, building up tensile stresses that lead to cracking. Fractures occur every 20 to 30 feet across the lane, allowing water to penetrate the structure, which further weakens the pavement layer and the base beneath. Traffic loads worsen these cracks, leading to shorter pavement life, increased maintenance requirements and rougher roads.