Pothole problems a plenty


Busted tires, bent rims, out of line suspensions - Roads around Michiana are littered with potholes causing headaches for drivers.

Since last week's thaw, St. Joseph County highway crews have been on pothole patrol.

Officials say Gumwood is one of the worst roads in the county right now.

It is already scheduled to be reconstructed this summer, but some of these holes will likely have to be filled in before then.

"I think the roads are terrible, and they need to clean them off and fix them. They're doing a lot of damage," said Mary Monnin from Granger.

There are up to 15 county crews of 4 to 5 people working each day using the usual cold patch mix and some other material to fill in potholes around the county.

"Their primary focus is on patching," assures County Engineer Jessica Clark.

Clark says the northeast corner of the county is in awful shape.

Last week's thaw revealed a mess on the roads.

In some cases, for example, along Auten Road, because of standing water on the road, crews used sand and dirt to fill in holes.

"This is just a quick fix until crews can go back and use the cold patch," explains Clark.

Highway officials think this could be the worst year for potholes they have seen in a decade.

"A to F - what grade would you give the roads?"WSBT Reporter Denise Bohn asked Art Arbough from Elkhart.

"I would say a C," answers Arbough. "Given the winter we've had, they did not do a bad job, I don't think."

Clark says they have plenty of material to fill all the potholes. It will just take time to get to all of them.

She added this could be the worst year they've seen for potholes in a decade.

Road conditions could even get worse because the freeze-thaw cycle won't be over until spring.

"Drive cautiously, slowly," warns Clark. Potholes can pop up on any give roadway."

And a more permanent pothole fix can't happen for a few more months, because the facilities that make the hot asphalt don't even start running again until April.