Harsh winter poses pothole problems

Potholes are a sure sign of spring in Minnesota, and this year is shaping up to be worse than usual.

“We’ve had all the ingredients to have a big pothole year,” said Mike Kennedy director of transportation and maintenance repair for Minneapolis Public Works.

Kennedy says with lots of snow starting to melt and rain on the way, asphalt’s biggest enemy – water – aims to riddle Minnesota streets with problems.

“It just complicates everything,” said Kennedy. “It’s more moisture in the pavement so if it freezes again… it can cause a problem.”

Fox 9 Chief Meteorologist Ian Leonard says water gets in through cracks in the asphalt, and does its damage from the ground underneath.

“Over the coming weeks, the snow will continue to melt,” said Leonard. “All of that moisture finds a way to get under the asphalt as it does, it freezes and thaws and destroys the subsurface.”

This year, the pothole season arrives while St. Paul and Minneapolis are still in a snow emergency from Saturday’s snowfall, and while sanitation crews start to battle the threat of flooding.

“It’s kind of this trifecta that we’re dealing with,” said Kennedy. “Unfortunately it’s right at the same time that we’re still trying to plow snow and deal with some of the street flooding.”

While road crews are constantly patching, their work can only provide a temporary fix until asphalt can be laid this summer. 

“We’re just kind of chasing our tails for a little while but we’ll try and stay at it as best we can,” said Kennedy. 

If you need to report a pothole within Minneapolis, call 311. If you would like to report a pothole on interstates or highways in the Twin Cities metro, click here. To report a pothole in greater Minnesota, click here.