Both Minneapolis and St. Paul have surveyors and crews out working night and day to fix the not-quite-spring potholes around the cities. Along with reports made via email and from phone calls from residents, both cities prioritize potholes based on size of potholes and the location’s traffic.
Citizen reports on potholes are streaming in on SeeClickFix as people are frustrated by the number and size of potholes popping up around the metro area thanks to the thawing and refreezing that comes with spring.
SeeClickFix is a popular online mapping tool, with mobile phone capability, that allows residents to report issues, like potholes, to keep government agencies accountable. For example, a St. Paul resident on SeeClickFix reported a pothole on Franklin and University Avenue on February 15:
Coming around this corner, there are some pretty scary ones stretching all across the road that are pretty much impossible to dodge.
How to report potholes
In St. Paul
After this story was published, we got an email from Minh Tran, who has a cellphone app for reporting potholes. Read about it here and see his webpage for more information. If you have tried this app, please leave a comment below to tell us about your experience with it.
However, according to Minneapolis and St. Paul officials, if you want to catch their attention, you are better off contacting the city directly.
Shannon Tyree from St. Paul Public Works says, “We do not have the resources to have someone monitor See Click Fix.” Tyree urges that residents contact the city about their complaints instead.
Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak assures residents that the city is working as hard as they can to fix all the potholes.
There are up to three different road crews out each day placing temporary “cold patches” to potholes throughout town. They make temporary patches during the winter months so roads will be more drivable until permanent patches can be made during the regular road construction season. Also, since these are the same crews that do snow removal on city streets, their work is prioritized according to the weather and the biggest needs at a given time.
According to Tyree, St. Paul has several road crews working on filling up the potholes. “We have seven crews out today… and surveyors are also out making reports on potholes around the city.
What about all the damage that potholes can cause to your vehicle? In St. Paul, Tyree says that people can file a claim with the city, and that claims are then dealt with on a case by case basis.
The birth of a pothole
1. Potholes begin after snow or rain seeps into the soil below the road surface.
2. The moisture freezes when temperatures drop, causing the ground to expand and push the pavement up.
3. As the temperatures rise, the ground returns to normal level but the pavement often remains raised. This creates a gap between the pavement and the ground below it.
4. When vehicles drive over this cavity, the pavement surface cracks and falls into the hollow space leading to the birth of another pothole.