Crews continue efforts to repair potholes in the city of Leavenworth. And this winter, it’s been a tall task.
“We’re doing what we can to get them,” said Mike Hooper, deputy director of Public Works for the city of Leavenworth.
Hooper said drastic temperature swings and wet and snowy conditions this winter have led to a freeze-thaw effect on road pavement. Water seeps into cracks in the pavement, freezes and then thaws. That expansion-contraction causes chunks of roadway to break away – creating a pothole.
“It’s that freeze-thaw of the asphalt and the soil under it that’s creating all of these potholes,” Hooper said. “The road can expand and contract only so many times before it starts popping up.”
Hooper said he’s seen worse years for potholes but “this is the worst we’ve seen in probably five to seven years.”
Hooper said city staff is well aware of the pothole issue and is addressing it.
“Every day it doesn’t snow or rain we’re out there fixing potholes,” Hooper said.
He said about five crew members each day are making repairs on the city’s 160 lane miles of roads.
They are fixing the potholes with a material that creates what is known as a “cold patch” for a temporary repair.
He said the pothole problem in Leavenworth is not any different than what is being experienced in other cities.
He said crews will be fixing potholes for the next several months.
Rain is expected Saturday and early next week, but the forecast is not calling for freezing conditions.
“I hope we are out of the freeze so now we just have to deal with the rain,” he said.
Laurie Arellano, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Transportation, reports that the number of potholes reported in the state has increased by about 43 percent over the same period last year.
Heavy snowfall this winter has caused a lot of heavy snowplow equipment to be on the roads. Icy conditions have led to salt treatments on the roads. But Hooper said snowplows and salt do not cause much damage to the roads.
“Again, it’s that freeze-thaw that’s creating them,” he said.
Hopper said the city encourages people to report potholes.
Residents can report a pothole directly on the city’s website, www.lvks.org, under the “Citizen Response Form.”