Our Opinion: Pothole perils and awareness

Sage advice for journalists is to write about topics of concern to readers.

Experience demonstrates readers are concerned about potholes.

Now that Central Missouri has thawed, again, potholes are appearing.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is acutely aware of the problem.

“Melting snow and rain, coupled with an extreme swing in temperatures, have caused potholes to pop up earlier in the year than usual,” an agency new release reported.

For the weather geeks among us, potholes form when daytime temperatures warm, but nighttime temperatures remain cold. Daytime moisture seeping into cracks expands and freezes during the night, causing cracked pavement to bulge. When vehicles pass over those areas, chunks of pavement pop out, leaving a pothole.

Motorists can assist the pothole-patching effort by being vigilant in two areas — safety and reporting.

First, watch for road crews.

“Drivers should be on the watch for short-term lane closings and crews and equipment filling potholes across Mid-Missouri over the next several days,” said MoDOT Central District Engineer David Silvester. “Crews will address the worst and deepest potholes first and then will move to more minor potholes.”

Second, report offending potholes.

In Jefferson City, go the website www.jeffcitymo.org, access the Public Works Department’s streets division and click on Report A Pothole.

For state-maintained roads, call MoDOT toll free at 888-275-6636 or go to the MoDOT Central District website at www.modot.org/central and click on Report a Road Concern.

Watch for potholes, and the road crews repairing them.

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