The challenge of filling the area’s worst potholes

WASHINGTON – Drivers are dodging them like landmines — potholes are just about everywhere. But transportation departments say there are a number of challenges in repairing them.

Choosing the worst of the worst potholes depends on which driver you ask, says WTOP Traffic Director Jim Battagliese.

“The areas I’ve seen the worst so far in my travels: the George Washington Parkway, Route 50 in Maryland near the beltway, and also Military Road is pretty bad,” he says.

Calls were flooding into the WTOP Traffic center southbound D.C. 295 before East Capitol Street, says WTOP Traffic’s Jack Taylor.

“You can name off any road in the area and there’s probably a pothole,” Taylor says.

Some of the worst stretches of road in the area (in no specific order):

  • Military Road, N.W.
  • Benning Road & Minnesota Ave.
  • Benning Road & East Capitol St.
  • roads throughout Rock Creek Park
  • Route 50 in Maryland
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway
  • Canal Road

While road crews are using the dry, sunny day to get out and patch potholes, Reggie Sanders with the District’s Department of Transportation says drivers often think potholes they’ve filled haven’t been fixed.

“We’ll come out and fill them and two days later it’s popping out,” Sanders says.

All road crews can do right now is fill potholes with asphalt until temperatures are consistently above 45-50 degrees and the weather is expected to be dry for seven days straight. Until then, crews can’t fill and pave over potholes, he says, because they’d just have to do it again.

As the mercury rises and dips, it creates an unstable ground temperature that lends itself to expanding and contracting pavement. Until that can be avoided, Sanders says, all crews can do is patch.

The U.S. Park Service, VDOT, DDOT and MDOT confirm they all have crews out working nonstop ahead of the storm expected to hit Friday evening.

In the meantime, report any potholes to the appropriate agency and take it slow on the roads.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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