JEFFERSON CITY – With several weeks of winter activity across mid-Missouri, a plethora of potholes have revealed themselves. Now that the precipitation is, for the moment, in the rear-view mirror, Missouri Department of Transportation crews are making an aggressive push to make repairs to roadways.
As crews wrapped up clearing roads of ice and snow Wednesday afternoon, many facilities across MoDOT’s Central District immediately began responding to the numerous reports of potholes across the area. Jefferson City and Columbia crews also had crews in overnight to repair busier roadways, such as Interstate 70 and Routes 63 and 54.
“Our crews will always seek to find a balance between making necessary repairs and making sure we keep traffic moving,” says MoDOT Central District Engineer Machelle Watkins. “That’s why we will have crews working on those busier routes overnight as traffic volumes are significantly lower.”
During that one night of work Wednesday into Thursday, Columbia crews alone used over 30 tons of patching material and 30 gallons of tack oil, repairing the large amount of potholes that have formed over the past few weeks.
Conditions have been near perfect for the formation of potholes this January, as up-and-down temperatures allow water and ice to seep into roadways and refreeze and expand. This can break the pavement above and below the surface, leaving gaps as ice melts. The pavement can no longer maintain its integrity as vehicles pass over it and it begins to break.
“We always see potholes forming this time of the year due to winter weather conditions. This year in particular, we have had to be extra diligent watching for potholes and repairing our roadways,” says Watkins. “Making the repairs takes material and man hours. Man hours that are difficult to come by when our crews have spent a large amount of time in trucks for winter weather operations. Now that we have a break in the forecast, it is time to make progress on another front.”
Watkins says crews will continue to focus on potholes around the clock through the end of the day on Friday, with work on major routes again taking place overnight.
MoDOT asks that motorists watch for work taking place and to use extra caution and obey traffic signs through all work zones.