As temperatures inch above freezing, drivers should expect the return of a familiar winter nemesis: potholes.
On Friday, city of Lawrence crews were still clearing residential streets of the 4 to 6 inches of snow that graced the city last week. With temperatures staying below freezing, potholes haven’t been a problem so far, Assistant Public Works Director Mark Thiel said.
But when the weather warms, Thiel said the city will be ready.
“Once the snow is gone, we will start paying more attention. We will start to send crews on arterial and collector (roads). But we don’t have anyone out right now,” he said Friday.
Thiel hopes that measures taken this fall will help prevent the rough conditions of last year’s winter, when crews were fixing 400 to 500 potholes a day.
The city has purchased a $168,000 piece of equipment that allows road crews to spray a chip seal-like substance into potholes. The method, which is used by the Kansas Department of Transportation and other larger cities in the state, is faster, requires fewer workers and lasts longer.
Before winter, city crews patched as many potholes as they could with the new technology .
“We are anticipating a large percentage of them will remain intact throughout the winter,” Thiel said.
Conditions also are expected to be better on the once pothole-plagued Iowa Street. Last spring, the street was so littered with potholes that the city did a $200,000 emergency job to patch and repave the road. Next year, the road will be completely reconstructed.
“It should get us through to next year,” Thiel said of the work last spring.
Still, potholes are expected to pop up. And, when they do, residents can call the city’s pothole hotline at (785) 832-3456 or fill out a form online at http://lawrenceks.org/public_works/pothole_report_form.