City Public Service Crews Repairing Streets in Pothole Season

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

City Public Service Crews Repairing Streets in Pothole Season

Posted: 03/03/2016
Every year following snow and icy weather, the Public Service Department responds to numerous pothole service requests during what has become known as “pothole season.” Since January of this year, City crews have addressed 129 service requests submitted by the public. 

The City’s policy is to address service requests for pothole repairs within 48 hours during the business week. This is in addition to regularly scheduled road inspections in which potholes are patched. To report a pothole, just call the 311 City information line or submit a report on 311’s web page at knoxvilletn.gov/pothole.

“Our goal is to make travel on City roads as smooth as possible through all seasons,” said Chad Weth, Public Service Director. “People probably don’t realize that while our crews manage the pothole service requests that get reported through 311, we also proactively repair eight times that amount on our own.”

Last year, the City spent more than $200,000 completing repairs with an estimate of 1,800 potholes patched.

Though most potholes occur following winter weather, it actually takes all seasons for a pothole to form. In the summer, heat causes asphalt to expand and eventually crack. Water is then able to seep through the cracks, dispersing underneath the asphalt surface of the road. When rainwater and snow freeze beneath the asphalt, it takes hold of some of the road’s underlying gravel. Once temperatures increase and the ice thaws, the water then pushes that gravel out, eventually forming a pothole.

During late winter and early spring when temperatures are below freezing, service crews must use what is known as a cold mix repair, which tends to be a temporary solution and is usually expected to need resurfacing after heavy spring rains. In summer weather, a more permanent repair consisting of a roadgrade asphalt and aggregate mixture can be applied.

“While we execute inspections and make repairs as we see them this time of year, hearing from the community really helps us prioritize incidents that are affecting the most residents,” said Weth.

The City Public Service Department maintains approximately 1,200 miles of roads within City of Knoxville limits, excluding Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) highways such as Kingston Pike, Northshore Drive, Chapman Highway, Henley Street and Broadway. The Interstate highways are also the responsibility of TDOT. (Please see attached map for road surfaces within City limits that are maintained by TDOT). 

To report a pothole maintained by City service crews, please call 311. To report a pothole on roads maintained by TDOT, please call 865-594-2408.