As the seasons shift, so does the formula for fixing potholes

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Winter’s cold mixed with some stretches of warmer weather made for a springtime pothole mess on roads in the metro.

Potholes mean big business for T.A. Schifsky & Sons, Inc. in North St. Paul.

“Lately, we’ve been putting out for patching … 300 tons a day,” said Ron Harren, plant foreman. “I was thinking, let’s get the plant open and get going so these guys can come in because they are bad this year, really bad, with the freeze and thaw.”

The four-generation family-owned business races to be one of the first asphalt plants to open in the metro with “hot mix,” which is what public works crews often use in the spring to make pothole repairs.

“It’s the necessity, filling the potholes, so we don’t have to dodge them,” said Rob Stangler, COO.

On Monday, public works crews from across Minnesota and western Wisconsin lined up in trucks to fill up with the new spring “hot mix” from the plant.

“It is quite complicated, it’s quite the recipe, and there’s a lot that goes into it. It’s not just oil, sand and gravel,” said Stangler.

Early in the pothole season, a “cold mix” — a softer and sticker asphalt — is used to fill a pothole, but it’s only a temporary fix, according to St. Paul Public Works Department website.

In late March and early April, with warmer weather, the patching season heats up, with crews switching to a “hot mix,” which is a permanent pothole repair.

If there’s a pothole on your block, or ride to work that needs to be repaired in the Twin Cities, you can report them to the Minneapolis and St. Paul public works departments.