Number of Columbia pothole repairs up 16% after extreme winter

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COLUMBIA - After a winter with extreme temperature swings, the  Public Works is spending more money than ever to repair potholes on city streets.

Because of the increased workload, the city released statistics on repairs- something it hasn't done in years past, according to Barry Dalton, the department's Community Relations Specialist.

"It's hard to pinpoint exactly how much man power goes into daily pothole repairs now," Dalton said in a phone interview. "But this is the first year we've tried to do so by releasing numbers.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, Missouri spends $604 per person anually on pothole repairs, compared to the national average of $533 per person. The Columbia Missourian recently reported the department budgets about $2.73 million a year for pavement management.

It's on the Missouri Department of Transportation to execute the repair. According to the same Missourian report, they patched 400,000 potholes in January and February alone. For comparison, they filled 619,000 in all of 2018.

Potholes are formed when water seeps into pavement and expands when temperatures fall below freezing. The routine days below 32 degrees in Mid-Missouri this Winter were perfect conditions for potholes to pop up on Missouri roads.

Even with all the time and money spent into repairing as many roads as possible, some potholes still go un-repaired. Christian Miller attends the University of Missouri and lives in Columbia, and routinely dodges potholes on his drive to and from class.

"Every time I drive home, I think about what the best route to take is to keep damage from my car," Miller said.

Miller also said he worries about repair costs that come with repeatedly driving over un-repaired potholes.

"As a college student, Miller said, "The idea of spending thousands of dollars on automotive work is a nightmare for every one of us."