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Potholes pop-up early after harsh winter storms

MoDOT and St. Joseph street crews are working to repair potholes left behind from the harsh winter conditions.

Posted: Feb 4, 2019 6:12 PM
Updated: Feb 5, 2019 10:22 AM

(ST.JOSEPH,MO)Now that snow and ice have been cleared from the streets, MoDOT and St. Joseph street crews are working to repair potholes left behind from the harsh winter conditions.

MoDOT Assistant District Maintenance and Traffic Engineer Jennifer Sardigal said extreme temperatures and heavy precipitation has caused pavement to crack.

“Asphalt is porous, so it allows water in. The water, or snow, or ice gets into the asphalt and the asphalt gets softer. Then when it freezes, it breaks up and that results in a lot of potholes,” Sardigal said.

Keven Schneider, Superintendent of Street and Infrastructure for the city of St. Joseph, said when crews aren’t clearing snow, they are out patching potholes.

“We have right around 435 center miles, center lane miles,” Schneider said. “If its a two lane street, it would double the miles. If its a four lane road, it would quadruple it, because the 435 figure is just down the center of the street. It doesn’t take into consideration how many lanes are there.”

Donny McCrary, an operator for the St. Joseph street maintenance crew, said after snow is cleared from the streets, crews begin packing cold asphalt into potholes until a more permanent repair can be made.

“During the winter time, it’s really hard to keep hot patch on the truck,” McCrary said.“Whenever we do get time in, we would so much rather cut out and do a permanent repair with the hot patch. Cold patch is just a temporary fix.”

Schneider said potholes reported by drivers in the city are set as a priority for repair.

“Any time we get a call on a pothole, that goes to the top of the list. Ninety-nine percent of the time we will patch a pothole that gets called in within two days of receiving a call on it,” Schneider said.

In northwest Missouri, MoDOT fixes potholes along 5,625 center miles of roadway.

“We just fill them as quickly as we can. When we have the ability to fill potholes, we take every opportunity to fill them,"Sardigal said."We maintain anything that is interstate, Missouri routes, US routes, that'll include the Belt Highway and some of Frederick and Mitchell.”

Sardigal said unless MoDOT is notified of a specific problem, roads with more traffic often are a bigger priority for repairs.

"It's [Mitchell Avenue] actually got another designation that is a Missouri maintained route,”Sardigal said."We travel a lot more of the major routes a lot more frequently than the minor routes, so we are going to see the potholes on the major routes a lot more quickly."

While streets are clear from the snow, both state and city crews are asking drivers to report any problems and help them identify potholes in need of repair.

"If there is anything really extravagant out there, please feel free to call in and let us know. We will get to it as soon as possible,"McCrary said.

Last year MoDot reported spending nearly $15million statewide on pothole repair alone. To report a pothole on a city road, contact the St. Joseph Street Maintenance at 816-271-4848. Drivers can report potholes along state highways through MoDOT’s website  or at 1-888-ASK- MODOT.

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Wednesday had an abundance of sunshine across northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri with hot and very humid conditions. A brief cool-down is expected Thursday, along with returning thunderstorm chances. A few storms may be severe.
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