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Science and the Environment

Area Road Crews 'On Pothole Patrol'

Photo Credit: State Farm via Flickr

As we being to thaw out from the recent cold and snow, area motorists are likely noticing more potholes. As KSMU’s Theresa Bettman reports, City of Springfield and state road crews are planning for repairs.

Potholes occur when moisture seeps into cracks in the pavement.  During the freeze-thaw cycle, water expands causing fissures and eventually potholes. 

With this year’s extreme temperatures and snowfall compared to the past two winters, MoDOT says they are receiving numerous reports of potholes already this year.  Angela Eden is an agency spokesperson.

“During the winter months there’s no point in trying to make a permanent fix because we will just end up having to come back in later.  Wet conditions and cold conditions are not conducive to permanent fixes during the winter months for potholes,” says Eden.

She explains that once consistently warm spring weather arrives, crews will return to do permanent repairs and resurface particularly bad areas.  Eden says in some cases resurfacing projects may already be planned for the worst areas.

Ron Bailey is superintendent of streets for the City of Springfield and says they are also starting to field reports, but no more than usual.  Bailey says it’s expected for this time of year and is built into the annual maintenance budget.

“We have a policy to try to repair potholes within 48 hours of being notified.  That’s standard.  Now of course on weekends that may be a little longer.  We have material that we use this time of year, it’s not as good as our summer mix.  We use a hot asphalt mix during the summer that’s much better than what we can get in the winter,” Bailey says.

Both Bailey and Eden caution drivers to be extra cautious and watch for short-term lane closings, large work vehicles and work crews. 

To report potholes drivers can contact MoDOT regarding state roads at 888-275-6636 or online.  Springfield city roads can be reported at 864-1000. 


For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.