Minnesota’s Potholes

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Anyone who has lived here in Minnesota for a while knows how hard its brutal winter takes a toll on its roads, driveways, cars, and elderly people. When you consider that the snowfall amount is among the 10th highest since 1884, this is especially true.

The Star Tribune reports that, Minnesota’s potholes are so deep due to repeated freeze and thaw cycles that maintenance crews are unable to keep up them “because nothing’s sticking.”

St. Paul Public Works Director Sean Kershaw told the Tribune “It is frustrating for motorists and our staff alike. Our street maintenance crews have been patching this section repeatedly, all winter long. They will patch it one day, and the next day they are back in the same spot because the plowing has knocked everything loose or the patch has already crumbled to gravel due to the underlying conditions of the road.”

Lisa Hiebert, a spokeswoman for St. Paul Public Works, told the Tribune “Part of the problem can be attributed to timing. It’s still too cold for St. Paul to fire up its hot-mix asphalt plant, which usually happens in April, and the cold mix used for winter patching won’t take hold. It’s kind of like taking Oreo crumbs and trying to spread frosting on it. It’s not going to hold together.”

A St. Paul resident Todd Knudten told the Tribune “It doesn’t seem this road is a priority. Only way St. Paul will be able to get ahead on Shepard is to completely rebuild the roadway. Patching isn’t enough. Why isn’t the problem solved? It’s not rocket science. All of the stuff they’re throwing in the holes now is popping out of the hole in about an hour.”

The tribune, quoting from a 2019 study by Public Works, the Tribune writes “without additional funding, city-owned arterial and collector streets will drop to “very poor” condition from the current condition of “fair to poor” in the next 20 years.”