Raleigh - With another long winter hopefully in the rear-view mirror,
N.C. Department of Transportation maintenance crews in Division Four, which includes Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Wayne and Wilson counties, are now focusing efforts on filling potholes along state-maintained roads in the region.
"Right now our desired turnaround time on fixing priority potholes is 24 hours pending weather conditions," said Division Four Maintenance Engineer Chris Pendergraph. "Unfortunately a lot of the potholes we are currently seeing are shallow and cannot be fixed with cold patch. We ask the public for patience as these potholes will be addressed when we are able to use hot-mix asphalt."
Since most asphalt plants do not operate during winter months and "hot mix" asphalt is not available, crews have been using "cold patch," as well as spray patchers, to fix the holes as an interim treatment. Cold patch is a premix that NCDOT stockpiles for winter pothole response. As asphalt plants begin operations this season, crews will transition from cold patch to hot mix as it becomes available.
Potholes are common during winter months when moisture seeps into cracks in the pavement, freezes, expands and then thaws. When the ice expands, it causes the cracks to widen and the asphalt layer to rise. Traffic then loosens the pavement, which eventually creates a pothole. Because potholes can quickly form without warning, we urge motorists to be on the lookout and pay special attention to the roadway.
Motorists can help the department by reporting potholes. If you see a pothole on a state-maintained road, report it by calling 1-877-368-4968, or by filling out a form online at www.ncdot.gov/contact. Click on "County Contacts" on the left side of your screen and then select your county. Once you fill out the form, it will be sent to the appropriate NCDOT office. To help our crews locate the pothole, be sure to provide as much information as possible about its location, including the city or county, road name, nearest intersection, which lane the pothole is in, and the size and depth of the pothole. If a pothole is in a work zone, the contractor will be notified and is responsible for fixing it. You should contact your local municipality to report a pothole on a road that is not maintained by NCDOT.
The location, size and depth of the pothole determine its priority. Potholes within travel lanes of major routes will be first priority. Potholes on shoulders will be less of a priority, as will shallow ones.
AAA offers the following tips when encountering a pothole:
- Avoid swerving. Swerving can cause loss of vehicle control;
- Slow down. Carefully avoid impact with potholes. If a pothole can't be avoided slow down. Hitting a pothole at a high speed increases the chance of damage to the vehicle, and losing control;
- Roll through. Rolling through the pothole is better than braking rapidly;
- Properly inflate tires. Over-inflated and under-inflated tires increase risk of tire and wheel damage; and
- Avoid puddles that may conceal a deep pothole.
For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow
NCDOT on Twitter