Pothole maintenance falls through cracks due to constant storms

WASHINGTON – Road crews across the region report resources are in good shape ahead of Tuesday’s storm. There’s enough salt and enough people ready to go in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. But what’s falling through the cracks are the cracks themselves — potholes.

Multiple back-to-back storms have had Maryland crews either responding to or preparing for the next one, says Dave Buck with the Maryland State Highway Administration.

“It’s taxing our folks, that’s for sure. All we can do is brush ourselves off, and get ready for the next one and keep going,” Buck says.

But with constant pretreating and clean-up going on, there isn’t time for the maintenance that would normally get done in between storms, like fixing potholes, he says.

Crews can’t be out there doing any number of things including drainage cleaning, tree trimming and fixing potholes, the highway administration says.

What isn’t helping is the constant change in temperature from single digits last week, to 60s over the weekend. The fluctuation only makes existing potholes grow bigger as the pavement expands and contracts, and creates new potholes, Buck says.

“We’ve spent $7.8 million on salt so far this winter,” says Joan Morris with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

That’s 112,000 tons that are currently being replenished ahead of the next two predicted storms, she says.

D.C. is also in good shape replenishing its salt constantly, but not counting the salt used to treat the roads Monday morning, the city has used 24,860 tons so far this season.

While Virginia and D.C. did not comment on pothole maintenance, each jurisdiction has a way for drivers to report large potholes that could be a safety problem.

Report potholes:

  • In Maryland: The Department of Public Works & Transportation performs pothole repairs on all county maintained roadways. Roads that are identified by a route number (example MD Route 214, MD Route 450, MD Route 210, US 1 to name a few) are the responsibility of the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA). Call 301-952-0555 to report a pothole to SHA.
  • In Virginia: If you encounter a pothole on a state-maintained road, report the problem here. You can also call 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) to report any road maintenance issues. If the pothole is in a city, town or Arlington or Henrico County, call the public works department in that location.
  • In the District: You can request pothole repair services by calling the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311 or by completing a service request online using the District government’s Service Request Center. Please Indicate the pothole location (i.e. address, intersection) and describe the severity of the problem (i.e. depth, width, number of potholes in one location).


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