Pothole update: keeping streets safe and drivable

I know: the pothole situation is rough. I drive over and around them every day; we all do. As temperatures keep climbing during the day then keep refreezing again overnight, more potholes keep appearing.

I want to you know that City crews are out patching potholes day and night to keep our streets as drivable as possible. Here’s what we’re doing.

We’ve been temporarily patching potholes all winter and ramped up considerably in February: since then, we’ve gone through more than 300 tons of temporary winter patching mix, called “cold mix.” Cold mix is just a temporary fix: it’s lower quality and doesn’t last long, but we use it to fill potholes quickly. Since early March, we’ve also had access to the higher-quality asphalt “hot patch,” which takes longer to put down but adheres better and is more durable — and we’ve already gone through 180 tons of hot patch, too.

As I know you’ve realized, potholes are popping up right now faster than we can patch them, given the near-record snowfall we had this winter and the freeze-thaw weather we’re having now. Because there are new potholes every day, please let us know what you’re seeing by contacting Minneapolis 311, either by phone Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm or online anytime. I know that in most cases, the pothole you report today won’t be filled tomorrow, but we will map your report into our GIS system. Your extra set of eyes helps.

Once we get the information, City crews prioritize which potholes to patch by weighing factors like the amount of traffic a street carries, the severity of a particular pothole problem and whether the street is slated for more extensive repairs sometime during the year.

Because the best remedy for potholes is long-term street repair. Weather permitting, we plan to start our 2011 permanent street-repair program in the first week of April. As I wrote a while back, in each of the last two years, the streets that we improved the previous season did not spring a pothole the following winter.  

I will continue to keep you updated about our progress in pothole repair. Please contact 311 to tell us what you’re seeing and let me know how we can keep doing a better job of keeping our streets safe and drivable.

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