The spring thaw on area roadways has left cars and trucks bumping and swerving to avoid the potholes of spring.
Crosslake public works director Ted Strand explained that potholes form when cracks in the road fill with water during thaw. The water freezes overnight, and forces some of the asphalt out of the road.
He said the same thing that forms the potholes makes them difficult to fill. The fill the city uses in the holes is at risk of popping out if water seeps in and freezes.
Strand said there’s a pile of fill at the city’s maintenance garage, which will warm up in a truck overnight for use when the time comes.
He’s already seen some weak areas in the roads open up.
“With the moisture it’s going to be a tough spring. Might have to do a lot of repair,” he said.
In Breezy Point, roads supervisor Dave Szymanski said he’s seeing more potholes than usual, but not to excess.
He said the worst spot is just inside the Breezy Point Resort gates, which the city has been patching every two weeks or so.
Nisswa is seeing its share of problem potholes, especially on Highway 371 and Main Street. The Department of Transportation (MnDOT) did recently fill a big pothole in the Highway 371 turn lane into downtown Nisswa.
“We’re filling them when and where we can,” said Tom Blomer, Nisswa public works director.
He said last week that the city had ordered a large dump truck delivery of five times the normal amount of pothole fill.
Other bad spots are the frontage road at the Northland Center, which will be repaved this summer, and Lower Cullen Road near the American Legion, which will be filled when possible. Patchwork will be done this summer.
In Pequot Lakes, potholes aren’t proving to be a big problem.
“The only consistent one is along the Catholic church (Old Highway 371),” said Mike Loven, public works supervisor. “We have a couple smaller ones here and there.
“We don’t seem to have much problem other than a couple little spots and we’ve been filling them,” he said.
Tony Hughes, MnDOT District 3 resident construction engineer, said MnDOT’s maintenance department has been patching potholes this spring.
“This has been a bad spring for potholes and I know the maintenance crews have been trying to address them on several roadways,” Hughes said. “Our maintenance staff will continue to work on addressing the potholes in the Nisswa area until the contractor starts working out there again, and at that point we will have the contractor address any concerns that come up under the construction project.”
Tim Bray, Crow Wing County highway engineer, said road maintenance crews have been using a steam jetting machine that removes ice from culverts so water from melting snow can flow where it’s supposed to. As the weather continues to warm and the snow continues to melt, crews eventually will sweep roads to get rid of the winter’s accumulation of sand and dirt.