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Warmer temperatures will bring pothole repairs

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FLOYD COUNTY/PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - With all of the freezing and thawing that happens during the winter months, potholes often become a problem on the roadways.

The beginning of spring is the time of year when highway department officials say their focus switches from treating icy and snowy roads to repairing roads that have been damaged by cold winter temperatures.

On Thursday, road crews at the Allen maintenance garage worked to stock pile their salt supply as their focus changed from salt to blacktop.

Maintenance engineer Jerry Lowe says, "We have a set amount we use if we go over that we take from our extra budget that we would have for blacktopping in the spring."

Officials say because of the mild winter their salt supplies and local budgets are in good shape. Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford says, "Winter hasn't been too bad on us, now winter is winter, but it hasn't been like past years where we have lost a lot of blacktop."

While there wasn't a large amount of snow this year, the frigid temperatures caused damage. Lowe explains, "We get water in between blacktop and in cracks and crevices, and it freezes. That causes a small pot hole and grows from there all winter. This is the time of year they are probably worst."

Officials say major roads like U.S. 23 are much more difficult to repair. "With high volume traffic you have to do a one lane closure and it is still very dangerous because most of the time you are working in the center of the road...which is where most of the potholes are at," explains Lowe.

Road crews have been filling problem spots, but these repairs are just a temporary fix. Lowe says, "Put a coal mix in them which doesn't bond as good as the hot blacktop mix, it is like a temporary fix until we can get hot mix to them when the blacktop plants reopen."

Officials say funding for road repairs through the gasoline tax is the one bright spot in the state budget. "The only place in the state budget where they have been getting extra money has been through the gasoline tax," says Judge Rutherford.

Officials plan to permanently fix the potholes once consistently warm weather arrives and the asphalt plants reopen.

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