City to Focus on Pothole Repair

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City to Focus on Pothole Repair

Posted: 02/22/2010
Dial 3-1-1 to Access City Services
If your wireless or landline phone carrier cannot directly access the City's 3-1-1 Call Center, you can reach us by dialing 865-215-4311. February 22, 2010 - Due to a wet and colder than normal winter the city's Public Service Department will suspend its normal brush collection for the next two weeks to focus its resources on filling potholes and making street service repairs.

The decision comes amid a near fifty percent increase in the number of reported potholes to the city's Call 311 service line this year and requests from managers in the field reporting the need to modify this year's schedule. 

"Because there are so many repairs to be made we are going to focus on filling potholes and small cracks and will put our brush schedule on hold through March 8," said Chad Weth, planning coordinator for the Public Service Department.

Normally the city resumes its regular two-week brush pick-up schedule in February, at the conclusion of its "leaf season" efforts. Public Service workers are also typically involved in right-of-way and alley cleaning efforts at this time of year.

Each of the city's six public service zones has a pothole patching truck and crew that might spend a few hours a day on street repairs before moving to other duties. The demand this year, however, has easily outstripped the resources normally allocated to it. 

"There are so many potholes we can't quite fix them all like we usually would and we need to get repairs to small holes now before they spread and become major issues," Weth said.

Potholes can be caused by rain or snow seeping through cracks in the pavement created by the wear and tear of daily traffic. The water freezes during cold conditions and expands below the pavement causing it to rise.

When the ice thaws it sometimes creates a gap between the pavement and subsurface. Eventually traffic will break that section of raised pavement to pieces causing a hole.

Exacerbating the pothole problem has been the inability to obtain or use hot asphalt patches.

To do a hot repair crews need a tack coat, a thin liquid asphalt layer that promotes bonding. But manufacturers don't produce as much hot asphalt product in the winter, when work slows on major road construction projects and because it's difficult to use below 35 degrees and in wet conditions.

David Brace, deputy director of the city's Public Service Department indicated there will still be some brush collection during the next two weeks. 

"Brush will be collected as resources are available, but our primary attention is going to be on getting our roads back up to par," he said.

Brace also indicated that his department will be getting some hot asphalt products and will be able to use them during the warmer weather to make long-term repairs.

Residents are encouraged to call 311 to report any potholes or other problems on city streets. The Public Service Department wants to repair potholes within 24 to 48 hours of their being reported.