Potholes:the nuisance snow leaves behind

By Gus Bode

Potholes:the nuisance snow leaves behind

Street maintenance team works through snow, ice

The abundance of winter storms in Carbondale this season has rendered road travel a nuisance, even after the snow and ice has melted. The streets of Carbondale are littered with more potholes than in past winters because of an unusually high 11 snowfalls.


“The potholes are bad this year, especially on Mill Street,” graduate student Ben Pickel said. “This is the worst I’ve seen them in the 5 years I’ve been here. All the freezing and thawing has really hurt the streets.”

“I’ve hit quite a few,” graduate student Kelly Drew said. “They don’t hurt my drive time too badly, but I don’t imagine they’re too good for my car.”

Carbondale Street Superintendent Wayne Wheeles said the winter has made his team’s job harder this year. The added burden of potholes has given the town’s street maintenance team yet another hurdle to jump.

‘The freeze and thaw cycle work together with water holding on to the pavement,” Wheeles said. “When cars drive over snow and ice, it forces water down into the weakened pavement. The winter weather, especially the aftermath of snow and ice, results in wet pavement. That means more potholes.”

Carbondale’s street maintenance team has worked its best to repair the roads. Unfortunately, the recurring winter storms have added more potholes and kept workers from making all necessary repairs. Wheeles said that snow and ice removal is the team’s first priority. With more snow in the forecast for today and Thursday, street maintenance workers may have their hands full once again.

“If another snow comes, we’ll remove the snow first,” Wheeles said. “That’s our first priority.”

Wheeles said that repairing the numerous potholes in town is a job that comes after the snow and ice have been cleared from the streets.


“What we do is after the snow falls, we attempt to identify potholes,” Wheeles said. “We try to get to the worst ones first. We remove all the loose material and de-water the hole. Then, we put in heated material if we can to fill the hole. We spend a couple of days with one and then move on to another.”

The street maintenance crew surveys Carbondale for potholes, starting with high-traffic areas.

“We use marked snow routes, which carry a larger amount of traffic, to check for potholes first,” Wheeles said. ” Then we branch out into the neighborhoods. We send people to survey other areas, too.”

Although the survey teams are hard at work looking for potholes to repair, Wheeles said phone calls from drivers who notice problems are very helpful.

“Motorist complaints always give us a good target where the worst potholes are,” Wheeles said. “If a pothole is too bad, they can always call us.”

Any driver who notices potholes in need of repair can call Carbondale’s Street Maintenance & Environmental Services at 457-3275.

Reporter Burke Wasson can be reached at [email protected].