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Pothole Update from Mayor Betsy Hodges

Minneapolis City of Lakes

Via a March 26, 2014, e-newsletter from Mayor Betsy Hodges:

Dear Friend,

Last month, I sent you a message saying that while warm weather was good news, potholes are not. Today, I would say the same thing. The flux in temperatures has continued to create potholes all across the area, as water gets into small cracks, freezes again, and then expands to create bigger cracks. When that happens over and over, the potholes get bigger and more numerous.

To meet this year's worse-than-usual conditions, we are doing more than usual to overcome them. Working with my colleagues on the City Council, I will be moving forward a request to add an extra $1 million for pothole repair this year.

What we’ve been doing

Right now, city crews are focused on temporary repairs for potholes. The ambient and pavement temperatures are still too cold to allow the materials needed for permanent repairs to adhere to the pavement. This means crews are only able to “fill” potholes and not yet “repair” them.
While filling potholes are only temporary fixes, crews are able to do them rather quickly. Right now the City is running at least two to three crews dedicated to pothole filling, covering as much ground as possible, taking care of the worst areas right off the bat.

What we’ll be doing next

Permanent repairs typically start with the beginning of the summer construction/maintenance season, which starts next week for 2014. City crews will begin to transition to permanent repairs next week. We are hopeful the warm temperatures this weekend will finally warm things up enough to allow for permanent repairs. We already have access to hot mix asphalt from the St. Paul Public Works municipal asphalt plant, which we will use as soon as it can adhere to the pavement. If the temperatures are still too cold, crews will continue in “fill mode” and then return to permanent repairs as conditions allow.

Permanent repairs require additional work, so they do take longer to do. While that will slow down the process, we have a plan in place to make sure we continue covering as much ground as possible.

Accelerating pothole repair work

The additional $1 million in funding will allow the city to bring on additional, temporary labor to create up to two additional crews for two months. We will also contract with a pothole patching service provider for two spray patching units for about two months, or as needed. Each of these units is essentially like having an additional crew, which means we will be doubling and in some cases tripling our efforts.

The late departure of winter has also slightly delayed some of our street construction – these crews will focus on potholes for a short period until they can start up.

I’m staying focused on the good news, which is that spring is increasingly upon us and our crews are working hard to keep Minneapolis pothole-free. I’m happy to see that many potholes have been filled… but I know others are popping up. I appreciate your helping reporting these and hope to continue to see improvements.

Mayor Betsy Hodges
City of Minneapolis

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