CLEVELAND- An extremely harsh winter is being blamed for a growing pothole plague in Northeast Ohio, and not just on the side streets.
Potholes on the interstates can be far more dangerous and difficult to dodge for a number of reasons. Often times the ice, snow or water run-off can disguise the chuckhole until it’s too late and/or the driver can’t maneuver around it because of heavy traffic. Speed is also a factor because hitting a pothole at 50 MPH or greater can will significantly more damage to the vehicle.
Ed Woods was driving a four-wheel drive pick-up truck on I-480 when he came across a large crater that he just couldn’t escape. “I was trying not to swerve because of the icy conditions,” said Ed. “As soon as I hit the pothole, I thought I tore my front end up or my wheel alignment was going out.”
According to AAA, potholes cause billions of dollars in damages to motor vehicles each year across the United States.
But fixing the potholes isn’t always easy especially with the harsh winter weather that’s been continually pounding the Northeast.
The repeated freezing and thawing cause water to seep into cracks in the pavement and then rapidly expand, fracturing the surface.
“They can pop up anywhere at any time,” said Amanda McFarland, ODOT spokesperson. “We have a high today of 40 degrees and then Thursday it’s 15 degrees; so there’s going to be a lot of freeze and thaw this time of year.”
McFarland said ODOT has had crews out repairing the potholes with a dry patch because asphalt plants are closed this time of year and a permanent hot-mix isn’t available.
Monday, multiple cars ran into trouble when they hit a huge pothole on I-90 Westbound near the Hilliard exit in Rocky River. The crater appeared to be several feet long and wide, blocking the slow lane.
ODOT sent crews to fill the pothole but Amanda said all of the water made it challenging because conditions must be dry for the patch to work.
“We blocked off the lane and transitioned a couple of extra crews to the area because we needed a sewer truck out there,” said McFarland. “There was a lot of water in that area.”
Until the potholes can be permanently repaired in the spring, Amanda suggests drivers slow down, check alignment and tires frequently and be extra careful of any ponding on the roads.
It’s also important to report any bad potholes so that crews can put them on their list and if anyone’s vehicle is damaged they can file a claim with either the state or city.