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MnDOT Scrambles To Fill Potholes On Metro Roads

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By James Schugel, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s rough winter means that drivers all over will be dealing with more potholes earlier than usual. And, as drivers have likely noticed, they are pretty bad this year.

Joe Conchola knows all about it. He says he driving his new car on Interstate 94 near downtown Minneapolis in the westbound lanes when he hit something that looked more like a crater.

“It was probably a good size width-wise and just deep,” he said. “I could feel the whole car go in and then out.”

He got a flat, the wheel was bent and he had to spend a couple hundred bucks to fix it.

“It was a major, major letdown,” Conchola said. “I didn’t even have a warning.”

The constant freezing and thawing are causing these winter potholes to form, especially after the rain in late December got into pavement cracks.

Minneapolis has gotten 217 pothole reports, nearly five times the number it had this time last year. An enormous amount of complaints has come into the State, too. So, starting Thursday, two shifts of Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) workers will make temporary fixes — day and night.

“You’ll see quite a few people out with their orange vests on and just give them the room to get it done and be patient,” said MnDOT spokesman Kevin Walker.

St. Paul has also intensified its pothole-filling operations the last several weeks. In the last five days, five or six patch crews have been out doing work. So far this winter, they’ve used 65 tons of coal mix to fill in the holes.

The fixes are just temporary in St. Paul and Minneapolis, and so are the ones the State is doing. Workers won’t be able to do the permanent fixes to potholes till March, they say.

As quickly as some get filled, more will pop up.

Now, Conchola will be more careful in the car, knowing full well that the next crater could be just around the corner.

“I guess it’s just a casualty of living here,” he said. “I hope I never hit one again.”

Now, if you just can’t avoid a pothole, there are a few things you can do to minimize damage to your car. First, slow down as much as possible. Second, grip the wheel tightly. And lastly, don’t brake as you hit the pothole, which forces the weight of the car forward onto the front tires and could cause more damage.

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