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Published: Thursday, 12/26/2013 - Updated: 10 months ago

Thaw, rain bring passel of potholes across area

City, ODOT send out extra patching crews

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A truck passes through the intersection of North Wheeling and Consul streets in East Toledo. The recent fluctuation in temper-atures has caused potholes in many area streets and roads. A truck passes through the intersection of North Wheeling and Consul streets in East Toledo. The recent fluctuation in temper-atures has caused potholes in many area streets and roads.
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Flooding wasn’t the only hazard that heavy rain brought last weekend to the Toledo area. It also helped produce an early-season pothole plague on streets and highways in the city.

Toledo’s Division of Streets, Bridges, and Harbor and the Ohio Department of Transportation both had extra crews assigned Monday to pothole patching, with the hope that they would get enough work done that only regularly scheduled staff would be needed on Christmas Eve to tackle any remaining repair needs.

“We had that hard frost, and then the excessive rain we had this weekend just saturated the pavement,” said David Pratt, commissioner of streets, bridges, and harbor, who sent six crews out on pothole detail Monday, including one on the pothole-riddled Anthony Wayne Trail.

The city had about 40 messages waiting Monday morning on its 936-BUMP pothole hotline, Mr. Pratt said, and about 30 more came in during the day.

“Normally, we wouldn’t expect this kind of volume until March or April,” the streets commissioner said. That is, he added, unless there’s a big thaw in late January or February, which is not unheard of.

While some of the Anthony Wayne Trail’s potholes were repaired Monday, however, many remained Wednesday, particularly where the top layer of pavement from a resurfacing project about a decade ago has simply peeled away.

Theresa Pollick, spokesman for ODOT’s district office in Bowling Green, said I-75’s rough condition through downtown Toledo was a testament to the need for its reconstruction — a project scheduled to begin in the spring with section between Dorr Street and Central Avenue.

“ODOT crews worked over the weekend to fill various locations within this corridor and along ramps,” Ms. Pollick said.

More pothole patching occurred between the DiSalle Bridge and the I-475 split in Toledo, she said.

Crews from the Bowling Green district also focused on I-75 between North Baltimore and State Rt. 582 and on U.S. 6 east of Bowling Green Road in Wood County, and on U.S. 20A between State Rts. 66 and 108 and Route 66 south of State Rt. 2 in Fulton County.

But in Ottawa County, Ms. Pollick said, maintenance crews were assigned primarily to dealing with high-water road closings.

Despite the number of potholes as cropped up across the region, most motorists seemed to be dodging them. At AAA Northwest Ohio, marketing director April Cochran said a higher-than-normal volume of calls came in Monday for emergency road service, with a commensurate number of requests for help with flat tires.

“We had a few people mention potholes, but [it’s] not an issue right now,” she said.

And at Smitty’s Automotive on Heatherdowns Boulevard, manager Dan Lonsway said just one obvious pothole case had come in on Monday: a commercial-fleet vehicle with a bent wheel.

“When the potholes start creeping up, we get bent wheels, broken tie-rod ends, and ball joints,” Mr. Lonsway said, adding that during winter weather, mechanics also see wheel damage from people hitting curbs and traffic islands because they “start to drive by Braille.”

The aluminum wheels automakers now favor because of their lighter weight, the store manager continued, are not as repair-friendly as traditional, heavier steel rims were.

“Once you bend it one way, it doesn’t want to bend back the other way,” Mr. Lonsway said.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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