Giant pothole on Telegraph Road near Alexis Road Tuesday in Toledo, Ohio.
Debbie Guiberson was pretty sure a car that hit a mammoth pothole in front of a home next door to hers on Telegraph Road recently was going to crash.
But while the car did strike the curb, she recounted, somehow “he saved himself” and kept going.
The crater in the northbound right lane at 5734 Telegraph was still there Tuesday afternoon, and driver after driver who saw it in time swerved partially into the left lane to avoid impact. Those who either didn’t see it or couldn’t swerve because of a vehicle in the parallel lane got bone-jarring rides.
And when a big truck hits it?
“Oh, man! I hear it all night,” Ms. Guiberson said.
Signs posted by someone concerning the numerous potholes that dot the Anthony Wayne Trail greet motorists on the Trail near Glendale Avenue on Monday.
While potholes along the Anthony Wayne Trail got high-profile acknowledgement in Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz’s State of the City speech last week, a visit to Toledo’s northern neighborhoods Tuesday demonstrated that street craters are troublesome across the city.
“City crews are working 10-hour shifts Monday through Friday and eight hours on Saturdays to catch up on potholes,” city spokesman Ignazio Messina said. “There will be eight to 14 crews working, depending on staffing levels and other projects.”
At left Gregg Davis of Temperance, Michigan, brought his car to Dave Johnson, owner of Expressway Mechanic on Duty for a repair after hitting a pothole on Lewis Avenue Tuesday, February 27, 2018, in Toledo, Ohio.
That’s not much consolation for Temperance, Mich., resident Gregg Davis, who was at Expressway Mechanic on Duty, a repair shop on Lagrange Street at Sylvania Avenue, to get repairs to one of two tires damaged when he hit a pothole on Lewis Avenue near Northgate Parkway.
“The city got a few choice words from me,” Mr. Davis said after explaining that the other tire was “shredded.”
“Potholes are plentiful,” shop owner Dave Johnson said. “It’s typical at this time of year: the snow disappears and the potholes appear … and a bad winter means bad potholes.”
Mr. Johnson said a short section of Expressway Drive, the service road along I-75 between Stickney and Lagrange avenues, in particular “has lined my pockets more than once this year,” while Mr. Johnson said Telegraph and Alexis were his most-noticed minefields.
At Smitty’s Automotive on Jackman Road at Alexis, store manager Ed Meggitt showed a bent rim and ruined tire that had just come in from a pothole encounter on Douglas Road.
“Between the two items together, this customer is going to spend $300 they weren’t planning on spending,” Mr. Meggitt said. “It’s unfortunate with all these potholes around. … We’re seeing a lot of damaged wheels, and if it’s an aluminum wheel, it’s pretty much done. If it’s steel, we might be able to straighten it out.”
The store manager said he now avoids driving in the curb lane on any Toledo street with four lanes or more. His reasoning was supported by conditions on Alexis west of Jackman, where five potholes in the curb lane in either direction were marked Tuesday with orange barrels or spindles, and at least that many were unmarked altogether. There was one big one in the eastbound left lane approaching Jackman, although it was in the middle of the lane where tires would be less likely to hit it.
Mr. Meggitt discounted the city’s practice of marking potholes, rather than patching them.
“They put the orange cone out until somebody knocks the cone over, then they [motorists] start hitting it [the pothole] again,” he said.
He and Mr. Johnson also cautioned drivers to be extra careful around potholes during rainfall, as is forecast for the Toledo area Thursday.
“Don’t be in a hurry, look twice, and if it’s filled with water, don’t drive into it,” Mr. Johnson said, to which Mr. Meggitt echoed, “When this rain starts, you don’t know how deep they are, so go around it.”
Toledo city workers Rennie Latford, left, Terrence Haynes, and Tom Metzger patching potholes on Lagrange Street in Toledo, Ohio on February 15, 2018.
Jeremy Mikolajczyk, the city’s commissioner of streets, bridges, and harbor, said in an administrative memo Tuesday that besides traditional pothole patching, his crews will grind out small patches “on streets that have good pavement but a small troubled area” and use a hot recycled asphalt to make a more permanent repair.
The streets division also has two patching machines that it is prepping for service and will send to Dura Avenue near Matzinger Road, he said, while it is considering renting a radiant heater that can be used to soften existing pavement around potholes.
Once the asphalt is heated using a radiant heater, it is raked and new material is added along with “liquid rejuvenator” to fill the hole, Mr. Mikolajczyk said. After being heated again, the pavement is raked and rolled or tamped, leaving a patch that has no seams for water to seep through, he said.
Yet another experiment, the streets commissioner said, will involve using cold-mix patching material that sets up when water is poured on it. The city has several “sample buckets” that will be tested shortly, he said.
And patching potholes is a business Toledo is unlikely to exit any time soon.
During a forum held Tuesday at Owens Corning World Headquarters to discuss sustainable infrastructure, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said city engineers estimate it would cost upward of $60 million to resurface all of the city's pothole-challenged streets.
But Toledo doesn't have the money, so it will do what it can afford — repair about 20 miles worth of city streets this year, he said.
Blade Business Writer Jon Chavez contributed to this report.
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