Potholes

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An important part of road maintenance is the repair of potholes. Potholes are created when moisture seeps into the pavement, freezing, expanding, and then thawing. This weakens the pavement. Traffic loosens the pavement even more, and it eventually crumbles and pops out.  The county repairs potholes in a safe and cost effective manner, keeping in mind safety, budget, personnel, and environmental concerns.  We use county employees and equipment to provide this service.  Pothole repair is part of the county's overall pavement management program.

Not every imperfection in a road surface is necessarily considered to be a pothole in need of repair.  The general criteria for repair is a hole in the pavement that is 2 inches or more deep and over 8 inches in diameter.  The Highway Department has discretion to decide if a condition is a pothole in need of repair.

Pothole Damage Reimbursements

This office is prohibited by law from paying for damage to vehicles that have hit potholes.  While potholes are one of our highest priorities, they are beyond our control.  We make every effort to fix a pothole as soon as we are made aware of it, even if it means having a crew on overtime come in and fix it. We appreciate all notification of potholes (or any other road problem) and ask the traveling public to let us know of any road problems they observe.  Please contact the Highway Department at 732-8869 to report a problem.

Pothole Repairs consist of two elements.

Crew repair

A Road Repair Crew will be assigned an area to inspect.  It will repair any potholes it finds in that area.  Each road will be inspected at a minimum of once a year depending on available resources and factors such as weather and other road work that needs to be done.  The timing for the repairs will also be based upon those factors.

Response to complaint or accident

A crew will be sent out to inspect any road when we receive a complaint or notice of an accident or damage involving a pothole.

Potholes will be repaired temporarily during cold weather with a cold asphalt mix because manufacturers of  hot asphalt are closed.  During cold weather, the repairs will be limited to those determined to be hazardous for motor vehicles.  In warmer weather and when hot asphalt mix is available, potholes will be filled with the hot asphalt mix for a more permanent repair.

Priorities and schedule for road repair

The county has classified roads based on the function, traffic volume, and importance to the welfare of the community.    The county will repair those roads first that are high volume and high speed routes that connect major sections of the county and provide access for emergency fire, police, and medical services. The second priority are those providing access to schools and commercial businesses. The third priority roads are low volume rural routes. 

Extremely dangerous potholes are dispatched immediately, even if it means an after hours emergency callout. Normal potholes on county highways are usually repaired within 1-2 business days.  In particularly bad winter/spring seasons where numerous potholes emerge daily, most of the highway crews are converted to road maintenance crews and even work on Saturdays to catch up with the problems.  This is rare, but does happen on occasion.  With almost 400 linear miles of road, some areas can take as much as two weeks to address.  Please be patient, as our crews are constantly striving to make your commute better.  The Highway Department is constantly on the lookout for potholes, but we welcome citizen calls about potholes as well ( please call 732-8869).   

Roads with high traffic volumes have more potholes than others due to the sheer amount of use. Bridges and ramps, which receive heavy doses of snow removal chemicals all winter, are more prone to potholes, as well.

Weather conditions

Pothole repairs will be conducted only when weather conditions do not limit the ability to perform the work or when such work would not endanger the safety of county employees and equipment.  Factors that may delay repairs are cold temperatures, rain, snow, and ice conditions.

The Highway Department will document all repairs to potholes that are made under its jurisdiction.  Records will not necessarily identify each individual pothole, but show the general location where repairs are made.

If the county knows of a pothole in a road and it is not able to repair it, it will consider the use of warning signs or devices.  Factors that will be examined will be the location of the pothole, how dangerous it is, and whether a warning sign or device would be effective.

Tips for driving over potholes

  • Maintain full air pressure in all tires to give as much cushion as possible between the pothole and the rim of the tire.
  • Before swerving around potholes be sure to check surrounding traffic.
  • Beware of standing water that may conceal a deep pothole.
  • If the pothole cannot be avoided, slow down. Hitting a pothole at high speed increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels, shocks, struts and springs.
  • Don't brake when directly over a pothole. Applying the brakes causes the car's weight to shift to the front wheel and can increase damage. It's better to brake before impact and then roll through the pothole at a low speed.
  • When driving over a pothole-filled road, hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control.
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