Wisconsin News

Road conditions after a rough winter

Road conditions after a rough winter

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Temps above freezing have caused snow to melt and large puddles to form. Crews were around town Thursday clearing catch basins of ice and snow to get standing water off the street. They also had several potholes to fill.

When the temperatures keep going from below freezing, to above freezing, and back below, it causes a huge strain on the roads. That's when potholes form and melting snow causes extra-icy roads, but crews in the area are trying to combat those problems.

La Crosse County officials are ready for spring, but say this winter isn't much different than years past.

"No, it's about the same. We're still seeing frost heaves in spots.We're just plugging away with patching whenever we can get out there," Joe Clements, La Crosse County patrol superintendent, said.

Potholes are nothing new for this time of year.

"They come up every year and it's just a weak spot in the road eats out, traffic beating on it and water sitting on it, and then we just go in and try and clean them up as best we can," Clements said.

Patching pot holes hasn't been easy to do this winter.

"With all of the snow that we've had, we really haven't had a whole lot of time to do a ton of patching," Clements said.

Now snow isn't the issue. Melting snow has left a lot of standing water on city streets. Crews were out Thursday trying to open drains and get rid of some of that water.

"Once you clean the catch basins, they open right up," Andy Bakalars, city of La Crosse assistant street superintendent, said.

The catch basins aren't the only problem.

"Because the frost has gone so deep, we actually have some of the catch basins, the sewer department actually has some frozen pipes leading to the catch basins because of the depth of the frost," Bakalars said.

He says thawing those pipes shouldn't be an issue. The issue comes next month.

"March, March is anybody's bet. You can have March 50-60s temperature and then you can have 20 below and 30 below zero," Bakalars said.

City officials said they are hoping for a mild March so they don't run out of salt. There has been a nationwide shortage this winter because of the need in the South. The city uses about 3,000 tons of salt each year.

Both the city of La Crosse and La Crosse County have had crews out the last few days filling in potholes and opening up storm sewers to drain that standing water.

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