Special to GUIDON
Missouri Department of Transportation crews are focusing on pothole repair through April.
Motorists should watch out for MoDOT crews making the repairs, slow down and move over a lane to give them room to work. MoDOT will have about 300 pothole patching crews statewide working to make roadways safer. In 2019, MoDOT patched approximately 730,000 potholes spending $17 million on pothole patching.
MoDOT maintains 34,000 miles of road including interstates, U.S. and Missouri routes and lettered routes.
Potholes form when temperatures warm up during the day but continue to be cold at night. The rain and snow from winter leave moisture that seeps into cracks and joints in the pavement. Frozen water in cracks and under the surface of the roadway causes the pavement to bulge and bend.
Then, when ice melts, the pavement contracts and leaves gaps or voids in the surface under the pavement. When cars and trucks drive over the bulging pavement, it weakens the roadway, eventually causing chunks of pavement or asphalt to pop out, creating potholes.
Short-term repairs are made using a cold asphalt mix with a priority to fill the deepest potholes first. The long-term fix, a hot asphalt mix, isn’t effective until temperatures remain warm for a prolonged period.
If it is impossible to avoid a pothole, try to slow down before hitting it. Here are some other safety tips:
— Don’t brake directly over a pothole as this can cause more damage.
— When driving over the pothole, hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control.
— Use caution when driving over a puddle of water because it might be a pothole in hiding.
— Make sure tires are properly inflated. Properly inflated ties hold up better against potholes than tires that have too much or too little air.
Motorists can report the location of potholes on state-maintained roads by calling 888.275.6636 or using the Report a Road Concern form at modot.org.
(Editor’s note: This article was submitted to the GUIDON by MoDOT.)