Potholes - no one likes them! They seem to pop up overnight. Potholes are created in a number of ways. For example, when water seeps into cracks on the road's surface and is combined with the vibration of traffic it causes the asphalt to fail. This is why there are more potholes after it rains. Potholes are also created when trucks and buses stress the roadway causing a movement of the subsurface. Once there is a weak spot, every car that travels over it worsens the problem, and eventually a section of the material will fail. The most common cause is the winter freeze/thaw cycle. The ice/snow melts during the day filling cracks with water, at night the water freezes and expands, popping out the asphalt.
Potholes and other roadway failures are repaired by the Street Division in order of priority. The problem is corrected initially by installing a temporary patching material. Then areas needing repair are prioritized by size, number and street traffic volume to see if more extensive roadway repairs are warranted. More information regarding larger projects such as reconstruction, mill and overlay or the annual Seal Coat Project may be found under Engineering Projects.
Filling Potholes in Cold Temperatures
In the winter, potholes are patched with a special type of asphalt called "cold mix." Cold mix uses a softer, stickier asphalt that can be compacted into a hole even in below-freezing temperatures. Winter patches are temporary as the mix warms with the spring and summer temperatures and the material becomes too soft to stay in place.
Filling Potholes in Warm Temperatures
In the spring, summer and fall potholes are patched with "hot mix" asphalt - the same asphalt used to build new roads. Hot mix patches last anywhere from a year to several years. Hot mix is not available until late March or April, depending on weather conditions.
Reporting a Pothole
To report potholes on city streets, please call the Public Works Department at 651-714-3720 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If the pothole is located on a county road (Valley Creek Road, Bailey Road, Military Road, Woodbury Drive, Radio Drive or Manning Avenue), please call our friends at Washington County at 651-430-4300 to report. Make sure to include location details, such as nearest cross street and which side of the road the pothole is located.