Difficult winter makes it tough for crews to keep up with pot holes
If the potholes seem especially bad to you this winter, you’re not alone.
“We’re seeing potholes a little bit bigger and a little bit more this time of the year than we normally would,” said Lisa Hiebert, the public information officer, and marketing manager for St. Paul Public Works.
There’s a stretch of Cretin Avenue near University of St. Thomas with multiple potholes in a row. Matthew Brunner’s car didn’t stand a chance against them.
“Of course with the asphalt and these potholes, you just didn’t even see it coming,” Brunner said.
The drive made it even worse considering it was late at night and difficult to see. He was able to limp his car to his home a few blocks away to take a look.
“I was probably saying a couple of words I shouldn’t have been because I had just gotten my vehicle back from service two days earlier. So I was just like, ‘Oh no. I gotta go through this again,’” Brunner said.
Hiebert said in the winter, crews tend to use a cold mix to patch potholes. It doesn’t have an adhesive component, so it doesn’t bond as well. Crews go through an endless cycle of having to re-patch the same spots.
The pothole problem is not unique to St. Paul, but this winter has been particularly tough on the roads.
“What makes it a little bit more challenging this year is again we’ve had a lot of snow, and we’ve had a lot of moisture on our streets, and we’ve also had a lot of freeze-thaw cycles,” Hiebert said.
Potholes are patched by the same Public Works crews that plow streets. They focus on the main streets first.
“We’re trying to get the potholes patched as soon as possible so it doesn’t do damage to cars. If people do have damage to cars, they’re certainly welcome to file a claim with the city,” Hiebert said.
In Brunner’s case, he plans on doing just that because the repairs could be costly.
“I popped the hood, took a look and, sure enough, the shock literally blew through the top plate of the strut assembly,” he said.
In the future, he said he won’t hesitate to report potholes, hoping other drivers will stand a chance.
If a driver hits a pothole in the Metro, and it damages their car, first, they have to figure out who’s in charge of the road: the state, county or city. They could be liable for the damage and the driver could see some reimbursement.
To file a claim for damage incurred on state roads, click here. To file a claim in St. Paul, visit this site. To file a claim in Minneapolis, click here.
To report a pothole to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, click here. To report a pothole in St. Paul, call 651-266-9700 or email [email protected]. To report a pothole in Minneapolis, click here.