Pothole Season…Again

As reported by the Baltimore Sun, potholes are causing major problems again this year as cold temperatures and multiple snow storms have led to the deterioration of roadways.

From the article,

Potholes form when water seeps into cracks in roads, then freezes and expands, pushing the pavement upward, the SHA said. When vehicles run over that crumbling surface, it can collapse and chip away in pieces. Heavy plows and the corrosive salt and brine used to prime streets for plowing can add to the problem.

The number of potholes and the extent of the damage has the State and local governments scrambling to get them filled.

On Tuesday, the Transportation Department said it has filled nearly 25,000 potholes this year and will fill thousands more as the weather warms. It has 14 crews working six days a week on pothole repairs.

Andy Barth, a spokesman for Howard County government, said the county won’t know the extent of the damage, or the cost of repairs, until the potential for another freeze is firmly behind it.

“Colder weather creates more potholes, and it’s been a very cold winter, obviously, so there are obviously a lot of potholes,” he said. “But it’s too soon to tell whether it’s more than in [past years], partly because the process of freeze and thaw is what creates the problem. We’ll see as the winter progresses.”

Lauren Watley, a spokeswoman for Baltimore County, said it expects to fill 10,000 potholes this month alone. All of last year, it filled 63,732. County crews are out looking for potholes, but those reported by citizens are given priority.

The filling of potholes is also placing a strain on local government’s already tight budgets.

Last year, Baltimore County spent an average of $25.36 per pothole, Watley said — amounting to more than $1.6 million.

The city said its potholes cost $10 to $12 to repair, and that the funding comes from the highway maintenance fund. Last year, the city filled 90,000 potholes, which would amount to between $900,000 and $1.08 million.