City, state road crews hit the pavement for pothole response

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) officials said repairing potholes on the interstates has become a top priority after last week’s harsh winter weather.

Potholes start when water seeps into a crack in the road and freezes, separating layers of material. INDOT said there is not much crews can do to stop that process, but they are working tirelessly to make repairs.

Officials said they knew it was coming after last week’s extreme conditions.

"We knew that our crews would immediately pivot from snow and ice patrol to pothole patrol,” INDOT spokesman Nathan Riggs said. “We can look at it, and we can see that you know these are conditions that are going to be prime for pothole formation."

Drivers may have noticed them. In some places, they are hard to miss: Craters that, at times, are giving interstate travelers a bumpy ride.

"Yeah, they've been around. Luckily I'm a professional driver,” Driver Todd Levesque said. “This is just my personal vehicle, but I watch for them mostly."

Some INDOT crews have been pulling 12-hour shifts to smooth things over on 4,300 lane miles in the Indianapolis area. 

"We do use a cold mix,” Riggs said. “It’s intended to be a temporary patch to get us through until things warm up in the spring."

Interstate 465 on the city’s south side got some special attention Tuesday as crews continued working to improve conditions one patch at a time.

"(We’re) using whatever resources that we need to address the amount of reports and the conditions that we're seeing," Riggs said.

INDOT officials said they can’t use a permanent patch solution on the roads because temperatures just aren’t warm enough. But, they said some of those cold patches will do the job for several months, and even years in some cases.

Crews for the city of Indianapolis are also working to repair potholes on city streets as quickly as possible.

The city said it has 21 Department of Public Works crews filling potholes around Marion County. More than 130 were filled Monday.

Like the state, the city is using a cold-patch mixture, which will serve as a temporary fix until warmer weather returns and more permanent repairs are made.

Drivers who wish to report a pothole to the city should call the mayor’s action line at 317-327-4-MAC.

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