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Heavy pothole season expected following Utah weather conditions

Posted at 6:07 PM, Apr 03, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY – Potholes could be a problem on Utah roadways this spring thanks to a perfect combination of pothole creating conditions, according to the Utah Department of Transportation.

Utah is no stranger to potholes.

“You’ve got crater-like holes, it feels like you’re driving across the surface of the moon,” said Utah driver Hans Olsen. “Every once in a while, you feel like you’re driving through the Grand Canyon."

This spring, Utahns could expect to see even more and for existing ones to get worse, all thanks to the weather we’ve seen in recent months.

“It’s the trifecta. The freeze-thaw cycle, precipitation, the salt that we use on our roads to clear our roads,” said John Gleason with UDOT. “All of that can really lay heavily into the amount of potholes we have.”

This trifecta gives potholes the perfect conditions to grow and grow quickly.

“It doesn’t take that long with some of the elements that are working against the road and once you have water that seeps into the joints, or the road surface, it can accelerate very quickly,” Gleason said.

UDOT said potholes can pose a hazard for drivers.

“We consider it a safety issue because, not only can it do damage to your car, but it can also cause you to swerve or even cause crashes in the most severe instances,” said Gleason.

“Jack up a shock, pop a tire, rip out a rim – there’s all kinds of problems that happen,” Olsen said.

UDOT said potholes are one of the main things they consider when planning their maintenance budget. If we have a severe winter or wet spring, funds can be made available to address pothole concerns accordingly.

“We do plan ahead, and we give ourselves enough flexibility to address all of our priorities,” Gleason said. “There are some spring maintenance activities we can put on the back burner in order to get the pothole repair done.”

Gleason said UDOT relies heavily on drivers to help spot and report issues on the roadways. People can report potholes through the 'UDOT Click ‘N Fix' app.

However, it is important for drivers to keep in mind, UDOT is only responsible for the state’s highways and a few major thoroughfares. Other streets are taken care of by the city or municipality they are a part of.