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Agencies fix potholes brought on by weather

Posted: January 10, 2014 - 1:07am
Dave Cooper, left, and Todd Hadfield of the city's street maintenace department fill potholes along Lemon Creek Road on Wednesday.  Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Dave Cooper, left, and Todd Hadfield of the city's street maintenace department fill potholes along Lemon Creek Road on Wednesday.

If April showers bring May flowers, what does January slog in Juneau bring? If you have been driving around town lately, you may know the answer: potholes.

City and state street maintenance crews have been out in force this and last week patching up pits in the roadway, a problem wrought by the rainy weather.

“Potholes come about year-round, but they do tend to sometimes pop up in the wintertime after we’ve had a colder stretch and then it warms up,” said Jeremy Woodrow, a communications officer with the state of Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities.

Potholes can result from the freezing and thawing of the roadway and are worsened when water and moisture slips into and under asphalt. Crews with the DOT use a cold mix product aggregate mixed with asphalt to fill them.

In the wintertime, DOT maintenance crews are usually focused on clearing the roadways of ice and snow. But since the snow let up last week, they took advantage of the break in the weather by honing in on the craters in the pavement.

The state maintains the main roadways in town, such as Egan Drive, Glacier Highway and Douglas Highway, while the city and borough covers the rest.

Crews constantly monitor the roadways for potholes during all seasons, and the DOT estimates it spends $15,000 to $20,000 annually to repair them.

“The only people on the road as much as we are are taxi drivers,” Woodrow quipped.

They do, however, ask the public to help them by reporting potholes. Woodrow says that’s because they’ll pop up quickly — sometimes crews will peruse an area that is pothole-free, but then people report them in the same area the next morning.

Report potholes in your area by calling the Juneau Maintenance Operations Station at 465-1787.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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