Pothole season has arrived early this year, according to a Monday news release from the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Due to the below freezing temperatures and days of snow and ice from the past couple of weeks, potholes are expected to be worse and more frequent this spring. Approximately 300 MoDOT crews across the state have been deployed to fill in potholes through April.

“While following COVID-19 social distancing procedures, MoDOT is working as hard as we can to fill the potholes quickly,” Natalie Roark, MoDOT state maintenance director, said in the news release. “We ask motorists to please be patient with us as the repairs are being done.”

Potholes, a common, year-round occurrence, become more frequent after the winter months. They form when daytime temperatures warm and nighttime temperatures remain cold. As rain and snow leave moisture, it seeps into the cracks and crevices of the pavement.

That process starts to cause the road to bulge and bend in some places. In the colder months, moisture turns to ice. As the ice starts to melt, the pavement contracts and leaves gaps in the surface below the pavement.

This causes chunks of pavement to pop out and create potholes. Aside from regular heavy traffic, snow plows can also increase the occurrence of potholes.

To stay safe on the roads, MoDOT recommended the following:

  • When drivers see crews making repairs, they should slow down and move over a lane to give them room to work.
  • If a pothole can’t be avoided, drivers should try to slow down before they hit it.
  • Drivers should not brake directly over a pothole, as it can cause more damage.
  • When driving over a pothole, drivers should hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control.
  • Drivers should use caution when driving over a puddle of water, as it could be a pothole in hiding.

To report potholes on state-maintained roads, residents can call the 24-hour Customer Service Center at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636.) They can also fill out their Report a Road Concern form.

To report potholes on local Boone County roads, call 573-874-CITY (2489) or fill out the City of Columbia contact form.

  • General Assignment Reporter, Spring 2021 Reach me at mccaskillc@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at (573) 882-5720

  • Molly Hart is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. She has previously reported on state government. She can be reached at mhart@mail.missouri.edu.

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