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MoDOT dealing with early pothole season, problem not too bad yet in St. Joseph

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St. Joseph’s road crews repaired between 4,000 and 5,000 potholes in the past year. Photo by Tommy Rezac.

BY TOMMY REZAC

St. Joseph Post

A mixture of bitter cold temperatures and wintry rainfall, followed by a significant warm-up this week, has resulted in an early pothole season in northwest Missouri.

Marty Liles, MoDOT’s assistant engineer for the northwest region, says there are about 300 crews nationwide working to mend the roads and highways.

Potholes form when temperatures are warm during the day but drop below freezing overnight. Moisture that penetrates and freezes into cracked pavement causes the pavement to bulge and bend.

When the ice melts, the roadway contracts, leaving gaps underneath. When vehicles drive over heavy pavement, the road is weakened, causing chunks of pavement or asphalt to pop out.

According to Liles, repairs will now be done with a cold asphalt mix, and the deepest potholes will have priority. He says more permanent repairs can’t be done until the weather warms up again.

“You got a lot of moisture in,” Liles said. “So we know that if we have drier (conditions) and warmer temperatures, we will likely come back this summer and do some permanent repairs.”

In 2020, MoDOT repaired over 760,000 potholes on a budget of $ 18 million.

In St. Joseph, Road and Infrastructure Superintendent Kevin Schneider says the pothole problem isn’t that bad, but four patch crews began repairs on emergency routes on Tuesday.

“We haven’t seen any increase (in potholes) yet,” said Schneider. “Now I’m not saying we won’t get one, but so far so good.”

The crews of St. Joseph repaired between 4,000 and 5,000 potholes with 400 to 500 tons of asphalt in 2020. Schneider says anyone who sees potholes in the street is urged to report them to the city.

“We want to know where they are so we can take care of them,” said Schneider. “Please call us at 816-271-4848. It is available 24 hours a day. “

Residents can also report potholes on the city’s website.

Officials say if you can’t dodge a pothole in the road, slow it down before you hit it, keep a firm grip on the steering wheel, and try not to brake while going over the pothole as this could cause further damage.

It is also recommended to have properly inflated tires.

You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.

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