MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – We could finally see a winter warmup this weekend. Temperatures are expected to reach the 30s, but more snow could fall on Saturday, and that means more moisture on our roadways.
With warmer weather on the way, some cities could quickly go from snow plowing to pothole patching.
“I can’t remember seeing four or five weeks of a snowstorm every two or three days,” said Jay Strachota, streets and parks superintendent for the City of Hopkins.
In Hopkins, snow plow operators have been working double time, pushing and then hauling snow to various dump sites. They haven’t worked normal shifts in more than two weeks and there’s only one bad thing about a potential warmup.
“When you get 35 during the day and 20s at night, that’s when you get the moisture – it’s going to get in the pavement and start cracking up,” Strachota said.
And there will be plenty of moisture to deal with. When snowmelt freezes in the road, it expands – loosening up the asphalt. That’s how potholes are born. A cold mix cities use this time of year only works temporarily.
“We’re going to get lost in a pothole. I may not come out. We’ll see,” said driver Julieann Swanson.
“Snow or perpetually with potholes. Pick your poison, I guess,” Driver Madeline Russell added.
All the ingredients are there for a bumpy spring. Cities can often get to potholes early, but not when late winter snowfalls keep them busy. Still, at this point with more snow in the forecast, drivers may be willing to take their chances.
“My mom got into an accident Friday night. I got into an accident the following night. So now I’m borrowing her backup car,” said Russell.
And if your vehicle does fall victim to a pothole, depending on the damage, it could take a few weeks before you get it back. Some body shops are backed up due to all the vehicle damage caused by ice and snow from recent storms.
If you start seeing potholes, Hopkins and other cities have ways to report them on their websites so workers know where to find them.