Pothole patrols are busy around Park City this spring
Chris Kehr understands which stretches of road in Park City could be a bit bumpy with potholes.
A driver for Peak Transportation, a shuttle service with a fleet of sport utility vehicles, Kehr says the people behind the wheel are adept at avoiding the potholes. Sometimes they brake when they are approaching one. Other times they might deftly dodge a pothole.
"We drive enough. We try to straddle them, come to the inside" of the lane, Kehr says.
He acknowledges the potholes could be worse than they are inside Park City, and this year, thus far, is about typical, but there are a few places that are notoriously bad patches of road.
Kehr points to the intersection of Deer Valley Drive and Park Avenue as well as the lower stretch of Marsac Avenue. Another bad spot, he says, is just off the Old Town roundabout as Deer Valley Drive heads toward Snow Park.
"Overall, I’d say it’s probably average, given the amount of snowfall we get," he says.
The Park City Public Works Department is responsible for fixing potholes, which form when water seeps into the roadway and then freezes into ice. The water melts and freezes repeatedly over the winter, eventually causing a pothole.
Pace Erickson, who directs the operations for the Public Works Department, says the situation is worse this year than it was last year. He blames the harsh winter.
Thus far, Erickson says, there have been hundreds of potholes filled since the start of the winter. The figure is average for a winter, but there are many more that need to be filled this year, he says. Heavily traveled streets are the worst, he says.
Erickson admits the crews are at least a month behind on filling potholes because of the late-season snows.
Some of the worst locations this year, according to Erickson, are:
"That area we’ve really, really struggled with," he says.
Pothole crews, consisting of two workers, can fill one in as little as two to five minutes, Erickson says.
The common filling process uses asphalt millings left over from the previous year’s roadwork. The millings are heated to approximately 275 degrees Fahrenheit and then put into a pothole. The crew then uses a compacting tool to press the heated millings into place.
Another process uses a cold mixture of rock and oil that is compacted into place using a machine. Vehicles traveling over the mixture assist in pressing the rock and oil into place.
Erickson recently briefed Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council on the pothole situation, writing in a memo the weather conditions that lead to potholes have been the worst since 2005.
"Staff has struggled to manage potholes this year due to the fact Mother Nature hasn’t yet delivered Park City very many dry days since the first of February," he says in the memo.
Potholes normally start appearing in the middle of February, Erickson says.
The memo indicates the crews intended to fill some of the potholes temporarily and then repair them permanently when the weather warms up.
Erickson says he has not heard many complaints from regular Parkites about the potholes this year.
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