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.

Comments (21)
  1. M says:

    Or slow down so you can actually see them before its too late. If that was a person or another car it would have been “TOO LATE” as well.

    1. Jon says:

      Yes because braking suddenly on the highway to avoid a pothole is a good idea especially in rush hour traffic where Minnesotans tailgate like there is no tomorrow. It’s especially difficult to see at night time since so many of these roads are poorly lit. Everybody’s gonna hit one at some point.

  2. M says:

    Correction. “I didn’t have a warning.

  3. M says:

    If your paying attention to drive your car and the road this is usually completely avoidable. Get off the cell phone, quit eating, reading, texting, just drive your car safely.

    1. B says:

      You’re right, because when I’m driving on 35W at 6:45 in the morning when it is still dark and am focusing on the traffic around me it is really possible to see the pothole that is in the shadow of the overpass. Get off your high horse. Also, MnDOT “scrambles” really isn’t the right phrase, more like slowly ambles to fill potholes.

  4. Mike says:

    He probably didn’t see the pothole because he was tailgating and couldn’t see anything except the bumper of the car 1 foot in front of him. If so, he got what he deserved.

  5. Jamie Ganley says:

    If they would quit resurfacing roads and actualy go down to the dirt when they repave they wouldnt have these problems. Worst roads in the country. Minnesotains need to join together to make the DOT do the job right the first time and the road will last 10 yrs

    1. Huh! says:

      What! By joining together, do you mean spending an extra 5 times working down through the base material on every road. You genious, why don’t you pull out your own check book on that one!

  6. Kwai Chang Caine says:

    Sometimes the only way to avoid them is to turn into oncoming traffic!, Great Idea ha M?, I think the city should pay for damages!

  7. Robin says:

    county Rd 42 in Apple Valley is really bad with pot holes.

  8. Nancy Beaudoin says:

    Rice street is very bad… Please ffix it soon… Big holes all over from University to Country Road C.

    Thank you.

  9. get off the phone already says:

    Ok everybody, let’s make this simple for MnDOT, every post where there are pot holes in the twin cities and I’ll make sure they read all the comments here in order to fix them.

  10. Mark says:

    I hit one recently about 3 feet wide, 1 ft long and about 5 inches deep. There was no way to avoid it. In that case yes, the only thing you can do is brake before you hit it and do not brake as you go over it. If you’re lucky it will just damage your rubber and not the wheel or axle. I’m willing to bet the price of the tar is far less than the price of the damage it is preventing.

  11. brooke says:

    Gosh, some people are so rude! Time to chill out! I

  12. Matt says:

    It would be nice if our gas tax went to fix the roads rather than mass transit…

  13. Unhappy says:

    Travel down Hwy 101 west from Savage to Shakopee. Craters is an understatment. Funny there hasn’t been more accidents. State and counties have no problem taking our tax money, do something with our highways. This road has been like this for over 2 yrs now and just a quick fix is all thats been done.

  14. Brian Wheeler says:

    The pothole just before Lexington on 694 wasn’t a pothole. It was Lover’s Leap. NO way to avoid it whatsoever. I should have rented a mule to travel down into it instead.

    1. The Defective Detective says:

      Here, here. US 10 between 35W and 694 is just one giant pothole. It would be a smoother drive if it were four lanes of gravel.

  15. M says:

    I agree that the gas tax should go to the highways but then how does mass transit get funding? I use both, I have lived in the inner city and been poor as hell raising the bus fare isn’t ideal for everyone either. We all live here and we all have to take the responsibility of paying taxes more if necessary to keep the state running, I don’t like higher taxes either and cutting services to the poor and vunerable people of our society is not the answer either. Yes I believe those who are here illeagally should not get services and those who are emmigrating should not get services of anykind either, I sick of paying welfare to the somalies and other’s who shouldn’t be here and are not paying their fair share. Yes people on welfare pay groceries, booze, smokes so don’t go there.

  16. s says:

    Do you know how many millions the University light rail is going to cost, or how many businesses will be lost because of 3 years construction, not to mention the loss of hundreds of parking spaces…Fix the roads for the cars instead.

  17. Michele says:

    There isn’t enough room to move around by the U! To fix the roads would mean to widen them which in turn means that business will be lost, construction will take years and paking spaces will also be lost. It’s time to suck it folks, we are going to have to pay higher taxes and I suggest we start taxing clothing, cut school sports team, if they want to play it’s called recess or join a community league, students who want to drive to school should pay parking fees just like everyone else who drives to work no one said life was fair and people need to get off their high horse and stop thinking that it’s all about them…WE AS A SOCIETY ARE IN THIS TOGETHER!!! BUCK IT UP FOLKS IT COULD BE WORSE!!!!!!

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