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Melting snow causing more problems for motorists – potholes

Geneva Public Works employees Steve Jones (left) and  Mike Devaney fill potholes on Route 25 in Geneva.
Geneva Public Works employees Steve Jones (left) and Mike Devaney fill potholes on Route 25 in Geneva.

As temperatures continue to rise and fall, motorists in the Tri-City area are encountering another hazard – potholes.

Potholes are caused by the expansion and contraction of ground water after the water has entered into the ground under the pavement. Local officials are warning that more potholes could open up in the coming days.

“There’s been such a deep freeze that it is going to take a little while to thaw out,” Geneva communications coordinator Kevin Stahr said. “That could lead to prime conditions for more potholes to occur.”

With the area experiencing a significant amount of snow and cold this winter season, the pothole problem has been worse than last year, he said.

Geneva public works crews have been taking advantage of the recent warmer temperatures to patch as many potholes as they can, Stahr said.

“There hasn’t been a premium number of days to fill potholes given the snow and freezing temperatures,” Stahr said. “The snow plows have a tendency to dig up new patches, and the patches do not sit well in freezing conditions.”

Some of the roads in Geneva with the most potholes are state routes such as Route 38, Route 31 and Route 25. Stahr said the city is responsible for filling potholes on those roads.

More permanent patching might have to be done on certain streets later in the year, he said.

“We definitely will be doing more permanent patching where there are clusters of potholes,” Stahr said. “Our goal is to make commutes smoother for our residents and visitors to Geneva.”

Geneva is not alone in having to deal with potholes. Chris Adesso, the St. Charles public services manager, said “the potholes here in St. Charles are very consistent with what we have seen in years past when experiencing the type of severe weather conditions that this winter has brought on.”

“The St. Charles Public Works Department has been working throughout the winter to fill potholes with a blend of cold mix asphalt, and we are continuing efforts to patch as many potholes as possible on a daily basis,” Adesso said.

The patches are temporary, he said. And some of the streets might have to be resurfaced.

“They will need to be replaced with more permanent repairs, utilizing hot mix asphalt when weather conditions permit this type of work,” Adesso said. “The Public Works Department is taking into consideration roads that have a seriously deteriorated surface due to the conditions this winter and will utilize the information collected while planning to make more permanent repairs and resurfacing projects.”

To protect vehicles from pothole damage, the AAA Motor Club recommended that motorists inspect their tires before they drive to make they are properly inflated as well as to avoid puddles of water that can disguise a deep pothole.

Steve Oke, manager of the Batavia Avenue Mobil, said his station has seen more vehicles this winter with pothole damage – such as blown out tires – than the previous one.

“Sometimes we have to replace the rim as well as the tire,” he said.

He had some advice for motorists driving on Route 31, which he said is in particularly poor condition because of potholes.

“Stay in the middle lanes if possible,” Oke said. “The outer lanes seem to be worse.”

Know more

Tips to protect vehicles from pothole damage:

• Make sure tires have enough tread and are properly inflated.

• Make a point of checking the road ahead for potholes.

• Use care when driving through puddles and treat them as they may be hiding potholes.

Source: AAA Motor Club

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