Snow, freeze bring potholes in Triangle

Snow, ice. Thaw, freeze. That was last week's weather.

Crack, pop. Bump, bam! That will be this week's potholes.

Triangle drivers should have no trouble finding traction this week, now that the last patches of ice have melted. But they'll find more bumps in the road as the weight of traffic rattles pavement that began cracking up while the roads were still slippery.

"We certainly expect potholes whenever we have wet and cold weather like this, every year," said Jon Nance, chief operations engineer for the state Department of Transportation.

Carl Dawson, Raleigh public works director, agreed: "The water gets down inside any cracking you've got in the asphalt, and it freezes and heaves. And that tends to break the pavement out."

Reid Elmore spotted fresh potholes in West Raleigh as he drove home from work last week. Elmore oversees DOT maintenance workers in Wake County, so he knew who to call.

"There were several places along Wade Avenue they were told to look at," Elmore said.

Until this month, Durham and Raleigh city employees handled pothole calls on state-maintained roads inside city limits -- as well as those on city streets.

Citing a fiscal crunch that has forced the state to lay off workers and cut spending, DOT said it would stop reimbursing the two cities when they patch state-maintained roads.

From now on, state workers will respond to pothole reports on 150 miles of state-maintained roads within Raleigh. Some holes might not be fixed as quickly as they were before.

"We have a goal of repairing potholes within 24 hours of their being reported," Dawson said. "They [DOT] can't always do that."

Nance said DOT will keep working hard to plug holes on state-maintained roads, including roads within the city.

"That pothole might not get the same attention as quickly now, but it will get attention," Nance said. "We'll prioritize those potholes."

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