Winter weather brings potholes

A road crew patches up potholes last week on U.S. 31W in Elizabethtown. Potholes and road failures have been common in the county after the recent winter weather.

Potholes and road failures are a common sight in the post-winter months and local road crews have been trying to keep up.

Dwight Morgan, Hardin County road supervisor, said manpower has been a consistent problem the past few weeks.

He said all crew members that are available have been working on patching potholes.

Morgan said so far, they’ve used about 45 tons of Coal-Mac for patching, which is done by hand. He said crews filled about 738 potholes alone last Thursday.

Chris Jessie, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 4 spokesman, said in an email while he didn’t have a specific number of potholes filled, he said crews have been hitting the roads “hard” with supervisors prioritizing immediate danger areas.

“Beyond that, they will take an entire route and go through to maximize efficiency instead of jumping around from place to place,” Jessie said. “Obviously, the warmer the better with respect to how much the pothole mix can compact.”

Don Hill, public works superintendent of Elizabethtown, said challenges for the city in the past few weeks is the quantity of potholes and street failures, and setting up traffic control around high traffic areas.

Hill said they’ve repaired about 95 potholes and street failures in the past few weeks, with about 40 pending failures which have been identified.

He said the city uses a winter mix asphalt since the asphalt plant isn’t open until around the first week of April. With the winter mix, crews create a temporary patch and then go back to put on more permanent patches once the plant opens.

High traffic areas, Hill said, create more wear and tear on the streets because of the traffic volume and the type of vehicle, such as large semi-trucks and other large vehicles.

Overall, Morgan said the other challenge they face is funding.

Morgan said he’s hoping Kentucky legislators pass an added motor and fuels tax since the road department’s money comes almost primarily from there.

“We’ve got to get more roads repaved, we’ve got to have more money in our funding,” Morgan said.

In order to repave more roads in the county, he said they need somewhere around $3 million a year just for asphalt. He said the budget typically is around $3.3 to 3.7 million.

Recently, he said they have been fortunate in that they’ve received more than $1 million in discretionary money in the last couple years.

However, he said further delays to resurfacing roads could lead to higher costs in the future as they become in more disrepair. He said the average cost of repair for a vehicle in the state because of bad road conditions is more than $300.

Potholes and road failures can be reported at transportation.ky.gov under the “contact us” drop down menu, “report a pothole” at hcky.org/road-department, and at elizabethtownky.org/public-works-department/ or by calling the city road department where the pothole is.

Andrew Harp can be reached at 270-505-1414 or aharp@thenewsenterprise.com.

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