TODAY'S QUESTION: Have you seen more potholes this winter?

Thursday, February 25, 2010 | 3:47 p.m. CST


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About a year ago, I was living on Rosemary Lane in the East Campus neighborhood and my street was plagued with potholes. Every time I pulled out of my driveway, I was faced with an obstacle course. I gritted my teeth and dreaded hearing my bumper drag against the pockmarked pavement as my tires pushed my Mazda out of the divots I couldn't dodge.

Looking for a solution, I did what any web-savvy college student would do. I searched "potholes in Columbia, Mo." on Google. Just like that, the first result was exactly what I needed — an electronic form to report my pothole problems to the Public Works Department.

I did my best to accurately describe each pothole I battled daily. I noted the address of the house nearest to the pothole and said which side of the street it was on, and for a few, I even reported the depth of the hole (to me, this made the problem seem more profound). Sure enough, as I was walking to class just a few days later, I had the pleasure of seeing a crew filling these potholes. I personally thanked them for their speedy response and gleefully told my roommates that our street had just gotten a makeover.

Now, the winter weather has again wreaked havoc on our streets and potholes are popping up around the city.

During the cold weather, state and city-maintained roads can only be patched with a temporary mix composed of asphalt and oils. This mix works best because the permanent mix can't be kept hot long enough to be effective in cold weather.

The severity of the depth and size of a pothole is the most important factor in determining when it will get filled, according to John Schupp, a Missouri Department of Transportation area engineer. After that, priority is determined by the amount of traffic, location and resident complaints.

Do you think you've seen more potholes this year than during other winters? Where are you spotting them?


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