It's pothole season: Crews use weekend to make emergency repairs

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The sun is shining and the snow is melting. That means one thing in Minnesota – it's pothole-fixing season.

This year's massive snowfalls combined with a long, cold winter were the perfect recipe for more – and bigger – potholes this spring, WCCO says.

The increased number of potholes this year has also increased concern for people's safety while on the road. That's why Hennepin County crews were out this weekend making emergency repairs, KARE 11 says.

"Typically, we don't work on weekends unless there is a need for it. And obviously, this year, there has been a great need," Hennepin County Foreman Brent Weldon told KARE 11. "We are hoping that the asphalt plants start to open up and produce asphalt on weekends. They did open the plants earlier this year than they have in the past because of the need."

And this "spring" weather hasn't been helping. MnDOT says when crews try to fill potholes before the ground is thawed, they don't last very long, so the work is only temporary until the ground is unfrozen.

“A little bit of warming and then cold nights, so water gets back into holes that we’ve patched and actually pops the, uh, patch mix back out,” Weldon told WCCO.

The county knows people are frustrated with the number of potholes, but they are asking drivers to be patient.

Crews have had to go back and repair some potholes several times, WCCO says. Later in the week, crews will go out and check the potholes they filled this weekend to make sure the cold patch is still intact, KARE 11 says. If it isn't, crews will have to fix it again.

Potholes are a safety concern because of the damage it can do to vehicles, which can include popped tires, rim damage, suspension damage and even damage to the car's engine, Firestone Tires says.

How many people does it take to fix a pothole? Crews repairing potholes also risk their safety, that's why there are so many people repairing a single pothole. The Chicago Tribune details worker safety issues in a 2010 story.

Hennepin County isn't the only area working to repair the suspension-damaging potholes. Minnesota has been called the "land of 10,000 potholes" this year. Laid off workers in St. Paul were rehired to combat the pothole problem.

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