Potholes pose minimal problems

By Jessica Kalin

From the thaw of winter snow through April 1, DeKalb street maintenance crews concentrate on repairing potholes in the city.

“We run crews almost every day,” said Mark Espy, assistant director of DeKalb Public Works.

Crews fill the holes with a patching mix made of small stones and emulsified tar, he said.

“This lasts for two to three years. With the old mix, you could have crews out there to refill the same hole the next day,” Espy said.

Potholes are caused by the freeze-thaw cycle, Espy said. If there is a crack in the pavement and water gets in it, the cooler temperatures at night will freeze the water, causing expansion that forces the roadway apart.

Once the road warms in daylight, the ice thaws and allows the cycle to start over. The older sections of town are more prone to cracks and thus more prone to potholes, Espy said.

Potholes pose little threat to most cars, said Brett Yaworski, Meineke Car Care Center technician.

“Unless [the driver] hits the hole too fast or the car is already damaged, potholes don’t really affect cars at all,” Yaworski said.

Espy said the city goes through one ton of patching mixture each week.

DeKalb 4th Ward Alderman Mike Knowlton, whose ward includes the downtown area, said he will assess the streets and sidewalks in his ward.

“No one has given me a call about potholes, but I know there are sidewalks that need to be fixed,” he said.