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Pothole problem gets drivers’ attention

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By Bryan Marshall

As snow and ice melt, cautious drivers have to deal with another road worry — the dreaded pothole.

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Potholes, small and crater-like, litter Interstate 75 and city and county roads providing a treacherous obstacle course for drivers.

“I believe it is worse this year because of the freezing and thawing we’ve had,” said Ed Gabbert, director of transportation of Williamstown Independent Schools. “It’s all weather-related. We’ve had so many trucks and scrapers out there and that takes a toll on the road, too. It’s just the wear and tear of the road.”

Gabbert said that he reports potholes to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet when he sees them so they can be filled in a timely manner.

A large pothole near Williamstown Schools was recently repaired.

“I’ve instructed the (bus) drivers to not swerve to miss a pothole and then get in another lane,” Gabbert said. “When they approach them, they just slow down. It is hard to avoid them. It be like going through a figure eight.”

Greg Brockman, owner Dry Ridge Auto Parts, said he has not had as many people come in to his business with issues related to potholes as he thought he would.

With so many on the roads, Brockman said it is tough to maneuver around every pothole.

When driving on I-75, he suggested driving in the less-traveled high speed lane.

“The other day we had one come in with a busted tire and a bent rim and tore off a couple mud flaps,” Brockman said. “It was nothing drastic.”

Between the many snow falls, the county road department has been attempting to patch up potholes on county roads, said Steve Tatum, Grant County Road Department supervisor.

Several crews drive their snow routes looking for any road improvements that need to be made.

“It just takes a few minutes,” Tatum said. “We’ll fill it up then roll over it with the truck. When the (asphalt) plant opens, we’ll get hot mix. It does a better job. They are saying that after this week that the weather is going to straighten up a bit, then we’re going to hit (the potholes) pretty hard.”

Drivers can report potholes on county roads by calling 823-4851.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spends an average of $5.25 million a year on pothole repair statewide, including material, equipment and labor costs.

During this time of year, when KTC crews are not treating with salt, they are filling potholes, said Nancy Wood, public information officer for KTC District 6 Office.

“Interstate potholes are more time consuming and dangerous, because to fill one pothole, it can take up to an hour to set up traffic control,” she said.

“Many of the potholes on our roads will be repaired several times,” Wood said. “Motorist should be aware that a road they traveled on that morning might be smooth, but the drive home hours later a pothole might appear.”

Motorists can report hazardous roads or pothole problems on state roads by calling KTC’s Highway Hazard Line at 1-877-FOR-KYTC(1-877-367-5982) or 1-800 PATCHIT.

Potholes also can be reported online at http://transportation.ky.gov/511/reportapothole.html.

More than 1,500 potholes have been reported in the past two years.