You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Clark County potholes described as worst in years

Problems come earlier than usual for city crews and for drivers.


Local officials described 2014 as an exceptional year for potholes so far, which has meant bad news for drivers and for city and county crews that have been working this month to fill them.

For Springfield and Clark County, it’s meant long hours for workers, who have had to fix local roads earlier and more often so far this year compared to 2013. For some area drivers, it’s meant expensive repairs that can cost hundreds of dollars.

Springfield does not keep track of the number of potholes it responds to and repairs, but it’s clear there are far more this winter than there have been in recent years, said Chris Moore, city service director. The potholes are caused when water enters a crack in the pavement. As the water freezes and thaws it expands, cracking the pavement further and allowing more water to seep in.

In addition, the number and size of the potholes has meant city workers have been making repairs earlier than ever, Moore said. The city prioritizes which potholes to repair based on several factors, including the hazard they pose to drivers and the volume of traffic on the road. For example, a pothole at a major intersection is likely to be fixed more quickly than a pothole on a residential street.

Typically, city workers simply patch the potholes until spring arrives. But this year they have been making more permanent repairs in areas including portions of Limestone Street, hoping it will mean those portions of the road will be in better shape for the rest of the year.

“We have a good window of weather right now, and we see the opportunity to eliminate the problem,” Moore said.

Brian House, owner of Custom Tire, 126 Linden Ave., said pothole damage is worse than usual.

“We have pothole visits every year, but the severity of the damage to some of the tires and wheels is probably more extensive this year than in the past,” House said.

The damage can be moderate if simple repairs to the wheel or a new tire are needed, or more costly if the main body of the wheel sustains significant damage, House said. Wheels on many newer models can cost as much as $600, with additional costs to purchase a new tire.

Pothole repairs have meant more overtime for those on city work crews, who have been working around the clock to make the repairs. However, it’s tough to determine the effect on the budget because it may mean the same work isn’t required later this year.

“Plus or minus a couple hours, we’ve had crews working on potholes around the clock since Saturday morning,” Moore said.

Because of the severity of the winter overall, Clark County Engineer Jonathan Burr estimated his office has already spent twice as much on overtime for workers compared to the same time last year. That will mean fewer resources are available later this year, he said.

“With the money we’ve had to spend on overtime, material, fuel and plowing snow, my resources are going to be diminished by that amount,” Burr said.

Some area auto repair businesses said that, while they have not necessarily seen an increase in business due to the potholes, repairs can be costly. New rims, for example, can cost between $300 and $500, said Gary Hayes, service director at the Jeff Wyler Auto Mall, 1501 Hillcrest Ave., in Springfield.

Both Hayes and House noted that one reason vehicles seem to suffer more damage is the tires themselves.

“In recent years, the automobile manufacturers have been putting on most vehicles, even light trucks and SUVs, low-profile high performance tires,” House said.”What that means is you have a shorter sidewall and a larger tire.”

That makes the tire more susceptible to pothole damage, he said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

PERSPECTIVE: When comedy meets politics, things can happen

Last November I attended a film festival in Colorado Springs and was moved to tears and laughter by a new movie called “Tickling Giants,” which is focused on Dr. Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian heart surgeon who brings satire to Egypt during the Arab Spring. Youssef is known as “The Egyptian Jon Stewart.” His weekly program, &ldquo...
Selfies could be causing more cases of lice in teenagers
Selfies could be causing more cases of lice in teenagers

Many experts say head lice infestations are at their peak during this time of the year as kids head off to summer camp. A Jacksonville, Florida, woman who owns a lice treatment center said it's most common with young children, but she's also seen an increase in cases of head lice in teens. Mandy Ottesen owns Fresh Heads. She said it’s very important...
Puppy rescued from extreme heat in locked car must go back to owner, court says
Puppy rescued from extreme heat in locked car must go back to owner, court says

An 8-week-old puppy that was rescued from extreme heat in a locked car last weekend will be returned to its owner, the Manor Municipal Court ruled Thursday. Manor police, which charged the puppy’s owner with animal cruelty, had hoped to win custody of the dog, named Annabelle, so they could hand her over to an animal shelter. “The...
Worship event on Sunday at Veteran’s Park
Worship event on Sunday at Veteran’s Park

The Springfield Arts Council will host “When Springfield Sings!” at Veteran’s Park at 8 p.m. on Sunday as part of the Summer Arts Series. This event is an opportunity for diverse congregations of Springfield and Clark County to come together to worship God in the center of our city. The Nehemiah Foundation coordinates this event every...
Clark County group considers civil rights leader a hero
Clark County group considers civil rights leader a hero

Dr. Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912-April 20, 2010), the daughter of a building contractor and a nurse, was born in Richmond, Va. She was an American administrator and educator, as well as a civil rights and women’s rights activist. She specifically focused on the issues of African-American women. Dr. Height set an example for African-American...
More Stories