By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The big thaw is happening, and it’s uncovering what was hidden beneath the snow and ice: potholes.

“We are seeing this pothole bloom that’s been kind of dormant for a while. Sometimes we see it in January and February,” Mike Kennedy, director of Minneapolis street operations said.

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Kennedy, says potholes are popping up metro-wide later than usual because of February’s historic snowfall. No matter what the calendar says, potholes are created the same way.

“All that moisture that got locked down in the pavement on the older streets where the cracks and crevices are, that the water can seep in. It got locked down in there. The water expands when it freezes, and as it thaws out, it starts to collapse,” Kennedy added.

And the street collapses so when your tires run over it, well, you know the rest.

Hitting a huge pothole can lead to costly repairs. Bobby and Steve’s in Minneapolis has had a steady flow of cars that lost the fight with area potholes.

“These two tires are flat here. This one’s flat as well. There is actually a crack inside the wheel,” Greg Wax said.

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Wax says a digital inspection shows the true damage to the rims of this car. He’ll spend more than $1,200 to fix this problem.

Wax says making sure your tires are inflated properly will help cushion the blow when you hit a pothole.

“Increase your follow distance,” Wax recommends. “Don’t try to ride people. That way, you can see ahead of you and you can avoid the bigger potholes.”

For now, crews will do all they can to patch the potholes in your path.

“Right now, we are still in temporary patching mode,” Kennedy said. “All we can do is use the street mix that we have, the cold mix, put it in and fill the potholes, and try to tamp it down a little bit maybe. We hope it lasts.”

Crews that patch these potholes say please have some patience. These are the same people who plow your streets during snow emergencies, respond to ice complaints and they also help the sewer department free clogged drains.

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You can call 311 to report any concerning potholes.

Reg Chapman