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Community Safety

See a Pothole? Call MoDOT

Pothole on W. College St. in Springfield/Credit: Scott Harvey

As the winter season draws to a close, Missouri Department of Transportation officials are beginning their yearly assessment of the roadways and the damage left behind by the colder weather and precipitation. KSMU’s Scott Harvey has more on MoDOT’s Pothole Patrol.

Potholes can be one of the more annoying things to a motorist, especially this time of year, when they can appear to be ubiquitous. That’s because the moisture from winter weather adds stress to a road’s surface, and water that finds its way into the small cracks of a road can further exacerbate a pothole’s formation.

Michael Middleton is the district maintenance engineer with MoDOT’s Southwest District. He says this year the department is asking the public to help notify them of those pesky potholes by calling 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (888-275-6636), or by visiting their website.

“It’s something obviously that we want to address and take care of; to come in there and put some material in those places and get those places, as best we can, covered up. And then in the summer months come along we can do a more permanent fix and help out with those locations,” Middleton said.

Once reported, he says officials will attempt to patch the pothole within 24 hours during the work week. 

Middleton adds that the key is catching the problem early, so that the pothole can be fixed before it becomes more of a hazard for motorists and more of an expense for the state. He says those permanent repairs, depending on the weather, could start as early as late April for parts of the district, and will encompass about 100,000 tons of mix by year’s end.

“Those kind of material that we place there, you know, we’re fixing things that this repair might be, let’s say 50 feet long to a quarter of a mile. That’s these repairs that we’ll make with asphalt. Those kind of work goes a long way in keeping our roadways smooth,” Middleton said.

While this year’s mild winter has helped limit the amount of potholes, there’s a consistent need for their repair each year, which is why the Southwest District budgets roughly $200,000 annually for the patch material. According to Middleton, about 95 percent of the region’s major routes are in good condition.

MoDOT’s Southwest District is responsible for 21 counties and over 6,500 miles of road.