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All this snow is great for winter-happy Utah, except for all the potholes

Potholes line 11400 South near 1000 East in Sandy, Utah, Jan. 16, 2023.
Curtis Booker
Potholes line 11400 South near 1000 East in Sandy, Utah, Jan. 16, 2023.

Chances are you’ve hit a pothole recently. Road crews with the Utah Department ofTransportation are doing their best to keep up with the problem areas.

However, UDOT officials said motorists should expect to see more during this time of year.

"And because of all of the extra storms that we've had, we're going to see more potholes than you would in an average or below average type weather winter," said UDOT public relations director John Gleason.

A pothole is formed when water seeps into the road surface.

Gleason said just keeping the roads clear can also speed up the formation of potholes, including salt from snow plows.

Fixing them depends on the season. During the winter crews may use what's called a cold winter mix. It consists of soft asphalt that’s poured into the hole once it's cleared of debris. According to American Fork City, this is only a temporary fix in some cases and crews may have to revisit the problem in the spring if the pothole reappears.

Potholes can pop up without warning and leave motorists with costly repairs. According to AAA, drivers spend an average of $3 billion per year on repairs from road damage.

"We see a lot of sidewall damage to tires. We're seeing the occasional bent rim, a lot of alignments,” said Bryce Potts, Big O Tires manager in Sandy. “You get a good pothole there. It's a good thing to double-check. There is the occasional car that comes in here with a bent tie rod or a bent control arm as well.”

Gleason said in most cases it is rare that the state will pick up the tab for any vehicle damage since potholes are considered an act of nature.

"If it's deemed that we didn't respond in an appropriate amount of time or if there was, you know, worst case scenario, any kind of negligence, there have been those cases rare as they may be where people have received money

from those claims," he said.

If you see or hit a pothole, Gleason said it should be reported by downloading the UDOT Click n’ fix app.

Curtis Booker is KUER’s growth, wealth and poverty reporter in Central Utah.
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