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Temporary pothole patches loosening due to rain

With Tuesday’s rain and the rain southeast Idaho will see all week, people are concerned about the temporary pothole fixes on the roads. They’re breaking apart due to the water, and some roads are getting worse.

“Winter’s not over. In fact, today, we had crews out all over the higher elevations of eastern Idaho plowing snow, including north of Salmon, Island Park, Teton Valley, southeast of Victor and southwest of Victor on I-31,” said Bruce King, with the Idaho Transportation Department.

With snow falling in the higher elevations and rain pouring everywhere else, the roads are going to keep taking a beating. Many pot holes have been filled with cold mix that can be used during colder months, but it is breaking up now because of the rain.

“Hopefully, the first time you fix them, they’re permanent. You hope,” said Ken Ray, Bonneville County’s road manager.

“It’s the freeze-thaw cycles. We can have several freeze-thaw cycles in a single day. And each one of those can tend to pop out a patch. You put a patch in — you install a patch — and you hope for the best,” King said.

Unfortunately, these freeze-thaw cycles can pop the patch out of place in a matter of hours. Therefore the state, counties and cities are waiting for the weather to warm up a bit.

“That’s when you switch over to hot mix. When your ground temperature reaches a certain temperature, then you can start using hot mix, especially on some of our bigger patches,” Ray said.

Southeast Idaho had warmer temperatures for a couple of weeks, but Ray said that isn’t enough.

“It’s not warm enough yet. It really isn’t. You want your ground temperature to be right around 60 degrees — and that’s surface temperature, not air temperature — before your hot mix is really effective,” he said.

If you see a pot hole on a road in the city of Idaho Falls, call (208) 612-8490 or report it on the city’s website.

To report a pothole on a county road, call Bonneville County Road and Bridge at (208) 529-1290.

For state roads, such as Yellowstone, Broadway and the highways, contact the Idaho Transportation Department at (208) 745-7781.

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