Traveling on U.S. 31 near Seymour, Kara Patrick has to drive with caution.
About a mile north of city limits, she said the road is rough under the railroad overpass. A little farther north, there’s another rough spot in the northbound lane near County Road 700N.
The culprit? Potholes.
“I cringe if I’m approaching these areas and there is oncoming traffic, which means no swerving into the other lane to attempt and save my alignment,” the Seymour resident said.
[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]
Other local residents have pointed to areas with potholes after the recent bouts of winter weather, which included snow and negative temperatures.
Tiffani Calhoun said Second Street between Vehslage Road and Community Drive is “horrible.” Work on widening that street is just beginning.
Sam Peters Sr. and Michelle Perry both said South O’Brien Street has bad potholes, and Daniel Thorneycroft said the north end of that street has some bad spots, too. Also in the city, Erin Whitson Newby said the Burkart Boulevard area just north of Tipton Street has several potholes together.
Jamie Baker and Kimberly Tran both have spotted potholes while driving on some county roads.
City, town and county officials all said work has begun to repair potholes.
Jackson County Highway Superintendent Warren Martin said his crews went out earlier this week to begin filling potholes with cold patch, which is used as a temporary fix. A two-man crew went to each of the three districts of the county, consisting of four townships each.
Martin said he has yet to receive any calls about potholes from the public, but his crews went out searching for the rough spots.
“We go ahead and get out and get started on some of the smaller ones so they don’t turn into big ones,” Martin said. “We try to stay ahead of it as best as we can. We try to be proactive with it.”
Martin said the number of potholes on roads sometimes depends on the amount of freeze-thawing that occurred. That’s where water enters cracks of the roadway during the warmer part of a day and freezes during the cold night.
He said it could take awhile for some of those potholes to begin showing up.
“We’re hoping the snow is pretty well over,” he said.
In Seymour, three two-man crews spread around the city this week traveling the streets and filling potholes. That was their second time doing that this winter, said Doug Gregory with the Department of Public Works.
“In between the snows, we did it because we noticed a few holes,” he said.
When people call in about a pothole, city workers do their best to get to that area as soon as possible, Gregory said.
“If they’ve got potholes, especially on these side streets, that need to be filled, we’ll be more than glad to fix them,” he said. “On the primary streets, if we see a pothole, we’ll fix it. But these side streets, we don’t go down them every day.”
Gregory said the department received a fresh load of cold patch earlier this week.
“It stays pliable where we can stir it with a shovel real easy,” he said. “It’s 1 inch above grade, and then we drive over it to compact it, and then it normally levels out and it’s good to go. Sometimes, it holds, and then sometimes, it will come back out, depending on the underlaying of the pothole.”
Gregory said crews will continue to work on potholes on a routine basis in the spring and fall.
In Crothersville, Street Superintendent Chris Mains drove around the town Monday to assess the condition of the streets. He said he found quite a few potholes.
“A lot of it is where we’ve patched in the past, and where we’ve had to push snow (this year), it’s kind of popped a lot of them back up,” Mains said.
“We’ve had some issues where we didn’t get out and put some oil on some of the cracks and sand them over,” he added. “Water gets down in the cracks of the asphalt, and they freeze, and then it thaws and freezes again and creates a huge mess.”
Mains said the town started a program in recent years where a couple of streets in town are paved. On Monday, he picked out a few that will need to be paved this summer and others that need repairs.
Some bad spots around town were filled with gravel a few weeks ago, Mains said. But now that cars have traveled over those areas and knocked the gravel loose, they are back to being potholes.
“We’ll go in and we’ll do some cold patch for the next month or so,” he said. “Once they start making the hot mix, we’ll go in and use hot mix.”
Martin, Gregory and Mains all said road repair is always included in their budgets, so they are all good to go.
Last winter, Martin said the county went through more than 300 tons of cold patch. At the end of last week, they picked up 45 tons.
Gregory said Seymour used a little more than 116 tons last year. The city has gone through 30 tons so far this year, and Gregory said they are on track to use between 100 and 120 more tons.
Crothersville used about 3 tons last year, and Mains said he expects to equal that amount this year.
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Reporting pothole problems in Jackson County
County roads: 812-358-2226