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Crews work to repair pesky potholes

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By Bryan Marshall

As the snow melts and the ice thaws, roadways can resemble mine fields with potholes riddling the pavement.

Dodging the potentially dangerous holes has become almost an art form on Interstate 75.

However, help is on the way, according to local officials.

Three- to four-man crews from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet have already been working their way through I-75 and other state routes patching up the potholes, said Nancy Wood, public information officer, KTC District 6.

The KTC spent $11.3 million statewide and about $750,000 in District 6 in 2007 to fix potholes.

“Snow, water ice seeps into the cracks of the pavement and can expand with falling temperatures,” Wood said about what causes potholes. “Traffic speeds can skim over the potholes and loosen up the pavement causing it to break apart. Also, slower traffic can compact holes that have already been filled and cause the pothole to sink.”

With many asphalt plants closed during the winter, crews use a cold mix of asphalt, tar and different size gravel combined to patch the holes.

A hot mix or heated asphalt that provides more secure bonding to the pavement will be used when the plants are opened.

Many of the potholes will need to be repaired several times, Wood said.

“Motorist should be aware that a road they traveled on that morning might be smooth, but during the drive home hours later a pothole might appear,” she said.

Drivers can report potholes on state-maintained roadways by going to http://transportation.ky.gov/Maintenance/RAPothole.html or calling toll-free 1-800-PATCH IT (1-800-728-2448).

From Feb. 3 to Feb. 11, KTC received six calls about potholes in Grant County and a total of 14 since the beginning of the year, Wood said.

In some roads not maintained by the state, repair work on potholes has yet to begin.

Dry Ridge maintenance supervisor Bobby Robbins said he is waiting for the weather to warm up before trying to fix any holes that could reform in the cold temperatures.

“If you put it in right now, it’s not going to stay,” he said. “It will pop right back out.”

“I haven’t seen a lot on the city streets,” Robbins said. “There’s a lot on the main highways.”

Steve Tatum, Grant County road department supervisor, said he is still working on cleaning up tree limbs and other debris from the snow and ice storm.

He expects to begin work on patching potholes as early as the end of this week.

“There’s not a lot of them, but there’s a few on several roads,” Tatum said. “It’s not worse one place over another. They’re scattered all out around the county. People need to just drive slow because they’re out there,” he said. “Just be patient. We’ll get to them.”