Milder winter means less perilous potholes

Potholes in Ottumwa

The Ottumwa Public Works Department has so far laid down around 150 tons of injection patching for fixing potholes, and that number is a lot less than normal.

Due to a mild winter and generally mild weather, Ottumwa has experienced less cycles of freezing and thawing, the main factor behind cracking pavement and developing potholes.

"Weather has a lot of effect on it, the freezing and the thawing is the thing with the moisture, any time you get thawing in the wintertime, and it gets underneath the pavement and freezes it, that's what keeps the potholes back out," said Steve Edgington, Superintendent of Public Works.

Though summertime is not as bad as wintertime, humidity still causes moisture under the pavement. Edgington said they will have two crews working on nothing but potholes throughout the summer and they're planning to begin hot mix patching July 1.

The pothole crews work on a one-by-one basis that is dependent upon several factors.

"We always start out first of the year doing main routes, but then when we get assistance requests on certain potholes, I'll go look at those potholes and make a determination on whether its damaged vehicles or caused personal injury, and if I feel that way, then I put those ahead of the other ones," Edington said.

Edgington also noted that crews have already developed a plan on which areas to target come summer.