With the start of spring this week, the Missouri Department of Transportation plans to have crews out in force to fill potholes that formed during this season's prolonged winter weather.
MoDOT will have about 300 pothole-patching crews working statewide, according to a news release.
About 400,000 potholes have been patched during the first two months of 2019. In contrast, approximately 619,000 potholes were patched for all of 2018.
"Some potholes have to be repaired multiple times because of the additional rain last week," State Maintenance Engineer/Chief Safety and Operations Officer Becky Allmerot said in a MoDOT news release. "The temporary repairs we used are not holding."
Allmeroth said crews address the deepest potholes first. Until roadway temperatures rise — and remain — above freezing, the repair is made using a cold asphalt mix. However, this is a short-term repair. The long-term fix, a hot asphalt mix, isn't effective until temperatures are warm for a prolonged period of time.
Potholes form when temperatures warm up during the day but continue to be cold at night. The rain and snow from winter leave moisture that seeps into cracks and joints in the pavement. When temperatures drop, the water freezes and expands the pavement. This expansion causes the pavement to bulge and crack. When cars drive over the bulging pavement, it eventually causes chunks of pavement or asphalt to pop out.
Motorists can report the location of potholes on state-maintained roads using the following tools:
The department spends approximately $15 million a year on pothole patching, according to the news release.