Since Jan. 1, 2015, the county has filled more than 2,000 potholes, according to Montgomery County Department of Transportation spokesperson Esther Bowring.
“Several dozen a week are typical, but it really depends on the time of year,” Bowring said. “We also do special ‘pothole blitzes’ where we devote additional resources to filling potholes. Last year in February during a warm spell over a couple of weeks, we filled 2,600 potholes.”
The county has not done a pothole blitz after last week’s snow that canceled activities Wednesday night and continued into Thursday and Friday. The melting snow and rainwater seeps under the pavement, expanding when it freezes under the pavement and causing the pavement to collapse when it thaws. The potholes then expand as traffic continuously runs over them.
County Council President George Leventhal (D-At large) said anecdotally he had gotten fewer complaints this year than in the past about streets getting plowed, but he still did not know how weather, including potholes, would affect the budget.
“That’s going to be a problem. I mean these are real costs. Weather brings serious costs associated with it and we’ll have to cope with that in the budget,” Leventhal said.
According to Bowring, the county completes the majority of pothole repairs within 48 hours and has four full-time crews that work to fix the potholes every day.
“If these crews are on their way to respond to a report about a pothole, they will stop and fix others they see as well,” she said.
Rockville Department of Public Works Director Craig Simoneau said the city has seen a higher volume of potholes since the snow but is working proactively to fix them. The city currently can only fill the potholes with what is called “cold mix,” rather than the hot asphalt required for more permanent fixes. Simoneau said the hot asphalt plants do not open in very cold weather as the roads have to be a warmer temperature in order for the mix to work.
“We’re going to have to do it twice, but that’s typical in the dead of the winter,” he said. “We don’t usually have a huge list that takes us weeks and weeks to work off. We’re not so big and we’re pretty proactive…we used to joke we don’t have potholes in the city of Rockville because they would get filled in 24 hours.”
He said the city could not currently commit to filling the high volume of potholes within 24 hours of a complaint, but the department is taking extra steps to inventory the roads even before people call in.
The city also reports potholes to the State Highway Administration (SHA) if they are on state roads. SHA said they have crews out patrolling for potholes and repair them between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
On average over the past five years, SHA has spent $2.5 million per year on pothole repairs.
If you want to report a pothole in the county, call 311 or report online at the following link:http://www3.montgomerycountymd.gov/311/SolutionView.aspx?SolutionId=1-234ONR