By: By Glenn E. Rice at the Kansas City Star
The 50-degree temperatures forecast for Kansas City Wednesday will give road crews an opportunity to hit the streets and repair some of the many potholes that are bothering drivers, city leaders said.
There are plenty of them. And if you think that you’ve driven over more potholes this winter than last year, you’re probably right.
In the first six weeks of the year, the Kansas City 311 call center has received more than 1,400 pothole reports from frustrated citizens.
That’s about five times as many calls as City Hall received during the same period a year ago, Kansas City City Hall spokesman Chris Hernandez, said Wednesday.
Last year, the city counted 256 pothole calls during the first six weeks of 2018.
“There are more potholes than actually reported but we want people to call 311 because that is how we know where the potholes are so we can get out there and fix them,” Hernandez said.
The number of potholes reported in Kansas jumped about 43 percent over the same period, said Laurie A. Arellano, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Potholes are caused when water seeps into cracks in the pavement, freezes, expands and pops out pavement chunks. This winter’s freeze-thaw cycle has caused a lot of potholes.
Kansas City crews spent Wednesday morning repairing a string of about 50 potholes along Gregory Boulevard. Workers used what is called a cold asphalt mix to smooth out the roadway.
But that only provides a temporary fix.
A hot mix provides a more permanent fix and works best when the temperatures climb above 40-degrees, Hernandez said.
Cleophus Hawkins, who has worked for the city public works department for four years, said this winter has been tough on Kansas City roads. Crews who make repairs have to make sure the pothole is clean and free of water before they can apply the asphalt mix.
Hawkins has the same interest in getting potholes fixed as everyone else does, he said.
“I don’t want my tires to get busted. I want make sure they (pothole repairs) are right.”
Elsewhere, crews from the the Missouri Department of Transportation spent Wednesday patching potholes on Interstate 70 near Manchester Avenue.
More crews will make repairs at Interstate 470 and View High Road, said Markl Johnson, a MoDOT spokesman.
“We’ll patch as many as possible while the weather is cooperating,” Johnson said.
Kansas City recently began using Smart-city technology as a way to help predict when and where potholes will develop. However, the algorithm that was tested on ten different roadways did not yield the results city leaders wanted.
“It was not very easy to deploy and did not do what we wanted it to do,” Hernandez said. “It taught us to dream big.”
Thump pads are a new tool that Kansas City crews are using to combat the pothole problem, albeit temporarily.
Road supervisors and inspectors who drive around the city keep a small collection of the 15-pound black bags in their vehicles and place them over large potholes. The all-weather, shock-absorbing, reusable rubber bags provide a temporary fix until public works crews are able to fill the pothole, Hernandez said.
To report a pothole, Kansas City residents should call 311.
MoDOT can be reached at its customer service number: 1-888-ASK-MoDOT.
In Kansas, motorists and residents should send an email to the Department of Transportation at KDOT#PublicInfo@ks.gov.
Motorists who have vehicle damage because of a pothole can go online to file a claim with Kansas City or MoDot. That’s at Modot.org. – look for “file a claim” at the bottom of the webpage.
For Kansas City, call 311 or kcmo.org