JEFFERSON CITY - Even during a mild winter, it can sometimes seem like the snow and cold weather will never end. But eventually, the grass turns green and the temperatures warm up. When they do, it's a welcome sight for many.
At the Missouri Department of Transportation, the arrival of spring means crews turn their attention to the potholes that "spring" forth as temperatures change.
The department has initiated a statewide "Missouri Pothole Patrol," which is a month-long effort for MoDOT to concentrate on patching potholes and keeping highways smooth and safe for motorists.
"The goal of this effort is to patch potholes as quickly as possible and get us through the transition to warmer weather," said Elizabeth Wright, MoDOT state maintenance engineer. "MoDOT has dedicated staff and resources to repair minor road damage quickly, but we need the public's help to spot those potholes and let us know where they are."
The Missouri Pothole Patrol runs from March 18 through April 14. There are multiple ways for motorists can report potholes:
The department strives to keep all state highway property in good condition - whether that means fixing a pothole, repairing guard rail or replacing a damaged sign. MoDOT relies on motorists to help spot these concerns so they can be repaired promptly.
"One of MoDOT's top priorities is the safety of the traveling public," said Wright. "We want to encourage our customers to contact us any time they see something of concern."
MoDOT's rapid response pothole repair is only a temporary fix. Once the weather warms up, the temporary patches will be replaced with permanent repairs.
Potholes form when temperatures warm up during the day but continue to be cold at night. Moisture from winter rain and snow constantly seeps into the cracks and joints of the roadway. When the temperatures drop at night, that water freezes and expands the pavement, which causes it to crack and bulge. As cars and trucks drive over those cracks, the pressure causes chunks of pavement to pop out, and potholes are formed.
MoDOT is responsible for all state-maintained highways in Missouri. Potholes and other damage on city and county streets should be reported to the appropriate local agency. If you aren't sure if a road is maintained by MoDOT, give the customer service center a call and one of MoDOT's customer service representatives can tell you.