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Temperatures swings result in uptick in pothole reports

Updated: January 24, 2020 06:42 PM

Road crews from Minnesota's Department of Transportation worked 12-hour shifts this week, patching and filling potholes and other open fissures in the pavement as a result of the swing in temperatures in the Twin Cities metro this month.

"It's the freeze-thaw cycle that really starts creating these potholes for us," said MnDOT spokesperson Kent Barnard.

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The problem has also crept onto the streets of both Minneapolis and St. Paul, according to public works officials in those cities.

Casper Hill, a spokesperson for the city of Minneapolis, said while staff has received 124 reports about potholes, crews will continue to focus the majority of the time on snow and ice removal.

"Permanent patches are made in the spring when warmer temperatures make that possible," Hill said in an email.

While MnDOT does the majority of its pothole patches in the spring, crews do use a special mixture in the winter to fill in the gaps.

"Right now, we're using what is known as a cold mix," Barnard said. "It's just a lower temperature mixture than in the spring ... when we use a hot mix. It's not quite as durable, it doesn't hold up as long."

The patches are meant to be temporary, but Barnard said technology has improved the quality of the product they use.

"Years ago, we would go out and, depending on the roadway, we could go out and patch it and by the next day that patch would have popped out and be sitting alongside the road," he said.

You can report a pothole or other trouble area to MnDOT here.

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Kirsten Swanson

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