Potholes punish cars

February 11, 2010 4:42:03 PM PST
If you feel like you've got a rough ride to work these days, you're not alone. From Fayetteville to Chapel Hill, drivers are complaining about the rapidly increasing number of potholes.

You can blame Old Man Winter. The endless freeze and thaw cycles we've been having lately send water into cracks in the pavement. When that water freezes, it expands and makes the cracks worse.

That's little comfort to drivers whose auto suspension is suffering.

"It's just really hard to avoid them now and when it gets dark and you can't see anything and you feel your car going under and you wonder how much it's going to cost you later," driver Sarah Bliss told ABC 11.

So why haven't more potholes been filled in? Well, many have. Workers from the North Carolina Department of Transportation and cities around the Triangle have been hard at it.

The DOT said Wednesday that extra crews have been assigned to respond to the large number of potholes Potholes within travel lanes of major routes will be first priority. But, since most asphalt plants don't operate during winter months and “hot mix” asphalt is not available, crews are using “cold patch,” as well as spray patchers, to patch the holes as an interim treatment.

Cold patch isn't as durable, so potholes can rapidly open again.

Meanwhile, AAA offers the following tips when encountering a pothole:

  • Avoid swerving. Swerving can cause loss of vehicle control.
  • Slow down. Carefully avoid impact with potholes. If a pothole can't be avoided, slow down. Hitting a pothole at a high speed increases the chance of damage to the vehicle, and losing control.
  • Roll through. Rolling through the pothole is better than braking rapidly.
  • Properly inflate tires. Over-inflated and under-inflated tires increase risk of tire and wheel damage.
  • Avoid puddles that may conceal a deep pothole.

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Report it

To report a pothole to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, go to www.ncdot.gov/contact. There's a dropdown menu under "reporting" where you can select your county. Provide as much detail as possible about the location of the pothole including the city or county, road name, nearest intersection, which lane the pothole is in, and the size and depth of the pothole. To report a pothole on a road that is not maintained by the state, contact the local municipality.

Raleigh

In the City of Raleigh you can e-mail the city to report a pothole or a storm drain problem at pothole@ci.raleigh.nc.us

Durham

The City of Durham has an online form you can fill out to report a pothole.

Fayetteville

The City of Fayetteville has an online form you can fill out to report a pothole.

Cary

To report a pothole in Cary, e-mail potholes@townofcary.org.

Chapel Hill

In Chapel Hill, e-mail gling@townofchapelhill.org to report a pothole.

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