Flagstaff potholes patched with a prayer

2013-01-31T05:10:00Z 2013-12-15T00:48:10Z Flagstaff potholes patched with a prayerJOE FERGUSON Sun Staff Reporter Arizona Daily Sun
January 31, 2013 5:10 am  • 

The city of Flagstaff's streets division's uphill battle against winter potholes got even steeper over the weekend.

Heavy rains washed away the ice and snow that had been covering some potholes this winter, resulting in a rough ride to work for some residents Monday morning.

Water seeping into cracks in the road freezes and expands at night, further splitting up pavement and separating patched areas from the main road, city officials said.

Crews are already hampered by the inability to use more durable hot asphalt during cold winter months, meaning the same pothole often must be refilled multiple times.

In total, the streets division is responsible for 634 lane miles of road inside the city limits.

The city is not, however, responsible for potholes on roads controlled by the Arizona Department of Transportation including portions of South Milton Road, Humphreys/Fort Valley Road, Route 66 and Highway 89.

The city sets a goal with its two repair crews to fill potholes within 24 hours of being reported.

During the winter, meeting that standard can be a challenge -- the same crews that fill potholes also drive city plows and graders after snowstorms.

Locals seeing more potholes in the street during the winter should also know that the city doesn't use hot asphalt in the winter months.

The main reason is that asphalt, which is often heated to 300 degrees to keep it from hardening, is nearly impossible to use during the cold winter months.

Instead, the city uses a mixture of oil and gravel as a temporary patching substance during the winter, although subsequent storms can easily wash away the pothole patch.

During the summer months, city crews revisit those areas and repatch the potholes with hot asphalt.

To report a pothole, call the city of Flagstaff at (928) 213-2175.

Joe Ferguson can be reached at 556-2253 or

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