As winter wanes, potholes, flooding problems increase

2014-03-10T20:30:00Z 2014-03-10T21:01:11Z As winter wanes, potholes, flooding problems increaseBy Phil Wieland, (219) 548-4352

VALPARAISO | Assuming Public Works Director Matt Evans is right and it won't continue to snow forever, the problem becomes one of dealing with the damage to the streets.

Evans told the Valparaiso City Council on Monday he's had crews out in between snowfalls patching potholes. Between Feb. 20 and March 6, he's had two or three two-man crews out almost every day. During that time, they patched 586 potholes using two semis full of patch material.

"We are inspecting the roads once a week," he said. "We will send out every plow driver on all 11 routes (today) to look for potholes, then we will dispatch crews to fix them."

He said some of the holes are deep enough to be "pumping mud," meaning they will need major repairs when the asphalt and concrete plants open in April. Anyone can report a pothole by calling the public works department or by going on the city's website. The city is doing some of the repairs itself and also is using Walsh and Kelly, its asphalt contractor for the year.

The city's Utilities Department had to make cuts in the pavement to repair broken mains and defrost frozen lines, and those areas will have to be repaired when spring comes. Evans said areas around some of the stormwater intakes has heaved and been hit by plows and will need repairs. Sidewalks have heaved up with the freezing and will need repaired along with the damage to the roads.

The shepherding of the salt supply by mixing it with sand has paid off, Evans said. The city should have an ample salt supply to make it through the rest of the winter weather.

The city will put its frost law into effect Wednesday, posting signs on roads where heavy trucks will not be allowed because the warmer temperatures are thawing the ground and making the subsurface of the roads soft.

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