City crews busy repairing potholes

Crews used 10 tons of material this year

City crews busy repairing potholes

LA CROSSE, Wis. - As all drivers have probably noticed, the winter weather means potholes have appeared along city streets, and city crews have been busy patching those areas for the last several days. 

City crews say the weather the last few days has made conditions just right for potholes on area roads to form.

That means the city is spending thousands of dollars to repair those roads.

But drivers and workers agree: It's all a part of living in Wisconsin.

For drivers, potholes are just part of the game.

"Yesterday I thought I was going to end up in China going down La Crosse Street, they were so bad,” driver Connie Forseth said.

"My friend and I were actually driving yesterday, and we said it felt like a roller coaster just going up and down, up and down,” driver Erica Anderson said.

But for some drivers' cars, those potholes can mean serious business.

"(My car) actually came unaligned I had to go in and get it fixed, because it was so shaky and off balance, and the guy said it was from the potholes and wasn't my fault because my dad actually got mad at me for it,” Anderson said.

This weather has been tough on area roads.

"We had the freezing rain the other day and night, and after that, we had a thawing,” assistant street superintendent Andy Bakalars said. “Generally when you have a thawing, everything that's normally froze down lets loose."

City crews use what they call an emulsion coal patch to repair each pothole. So far this year, the city has used 10 tons of the material.

"The problem we have right now is that when there's a lot of water, we put it in and we compact it, and as vehicles will hit it, they will push the binder right out. It will come right out of the hole,” Bakalars said. “Within an hour, it doesn't even look like we did the hole."

The city spends around $20,000-$30,000 a year on the material, but they are looking at alternatives.

"We are in the process of buying what's called a reclaimer where we can actually take old asphalt from the streets we tear up, and we can melt it down and put asphalt in, and the asphalt would last much better than the cold patch,” Bakalars said.

So whether repairing or driving through them, the potholes serve as a reminder to some that winter should end sooner rather than later.

"I'm glad every year when winter is over,” Bakalars said.

"I'm over it at this point,” Anderson said.

City crews said they try to focus on repairing the main roadways first, but when the roads are this bad, it's just a matter of moving to each street as quickly as possible.

They are also asking drivers to watch out when they see repair crews around town.

Depending on the weather, crews expect to be out repairing potholes through the middle of next week.

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