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Louisville Begins 'Blitz' to Fix Pothole Problems

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First it was weeks of snow and ice. Now it's potholes.

Metro crews will work to repair thousands of potholes on Louisville roads  during the next few months in what is being called the "pothole blitz," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced Wednesday.

The blitz traditionally lasts from March and April, once the temperatures begin rising and the weathering process known as "freeze-thaw" has ended, said Jeff Brown, assistant director of Louisville Metro Public Works.

The freeze-thaw process occurs when moisture collects and freezes between ground surface layers and the base layers of asphalt, Brown said.

"As it freezes and thaws it expands and contracts and creates a void, and when you drive over that void it eventually breaks," he added. "It's that freeze thaw that really creates the pothole."

More than 19,000 potholes were repaired during the 2014 pothole blitz and nearly 47,000 were repaired in fiscal year 2014, according to data provided by the city.

Brown said about 60 employees from both city and state departments will be working both day and night shifts to repair potholes.

Residents can request a pothole be repaired by calling MetroCall at 311 or 574-5000, or by going here.

Since September 2014 residents have made 2,228 requests for potholes to be repaired on streets and alleyways across the city, according to information provided by the city.

Brown said pothole repair requests are usually completed within 48 hours—despite being a process that is done entirely by hand.

About nine, four-person crews haul nearly six tons of heated asphalt around the city. When they come across a pothole they stop, the crew members grab a shovel and a rake and fill the pothole with the steaming asphalt.

Once the asphalt is settled and cooled it is ready for traffic, Brown said.

He said the longevity of a repaired pothole is difficult to predict.

"If there is some subsurface or something in the soil that caused that pothole to begin with, we might see it depress sooner than if it was just a situation where we had moisture in between that top layer of asphalt and the base," he said.

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.