Following a colder-than-average winter and weeks of dramatic temperature swings, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation acting Secretary Leslie S. Richards today advised Pennsylvanians that PennDOT crews are aggressively tackling the growing number or potholes appearing on state-owned roadways.
“We’ve had a rough couple of winters, including repeated rounds of freeze/thaw cycles,” Richards said. “Our road crews are out there working as quickly as possible to address potholes, and we’re asking motorists for help by informing us about where there are roadway concerns.”
In addition to the potholes addressed through continued monitoring by PennDOT crews, more than 3,600 pothole concerns have been reported to PennDOT and nearly 3,500 of those concerns have been addressed since March 1. With Pennsylvania’s aggressive freeze-thaw cycle, roadways will always experience potholes. PennDOT’s force of nearly 5,000 equipment operators are working vigorously to repair pothole damage on nearly 40,000 miles of state-owned roadway.
“Our men and women are out every day to improve travel for the citizens of Pennsylvania,” Richards said. “We have a mammoth task ahead of us and we’re greeting it head on. But not every pothole can be fixed immediately, especially on lower volume roads. We simply must prioritize based on the traffic volume of a road. I ask for patience as we work through making these repairs.”
So far this year, PennDOT has invested more than $17.5 million to repair potholes. To further supplement the department’s efforts, an additional $21.6 million in emergency funds have been released to address pothole repairs statewide. This distribution was possible because Act 89, the state’s transportation funding plan, allowed projects for which emergency funds were being reserved to be scheduled for repairs.
PennDOT crews will work as quickly as they can, but because of the numbers of potholes, it may take some days until the crews can work through the priority lists. PennDOT’s priority is to start with the higher volume roadways, but will work through the entire state-owned road system as soon as possible.
With Pennsylvania’s high levels of traffic, the fifth-largest state-maintained highway network in the country and drastic freeze-thaw cycle, the potholes that naturally occur on the state’s roadways are exacerbated by colder weather. PennDOT crews across the state have been repairing potholes as weather permits since winter began loosening its grip, though dramatic temperature swings and available materials can affect how long repairs last. Because of Act 89, nearly 5,000 miles of state roads will see resurfacing and longer-term improvements this year statewide. Without Act 89, roughly 2,700 miles of roads would have seen mostly short-term repairs.
On average over the past five calendar years, PennDOT used nearly 63,000 tons of asphalt a year to repair potholes at an annual cost of more than $31.5 million. Last year, PennDOT used more than 80,000 tons of patching material. So far this year, PennDOT has completed more than 24,000 tons worth of asphalt repairs and currently has an additional 25,500 tons of work planned.
Motorists can report potholes and other highway-maintenance concerns on state routes by calling PennDOT’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-FIX-ROAD (1-800-349-7623) or by visiting www.dot.state.pa.us and select “Submit Feedback.”
The hotline is staffed between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. After 4:30 p.m., and on weekends and holidays, calls are recorded by a voicemail system.
Motorists are asked to be as specific as possible when providing locations of maintenance concerns. Motorists should report the county, municipality, street name and state route number, which can be found on small black and white signs posted along state highways. In addition, a description of any familiar landmarks would be helpful for PennDOT to locate the problem area.
Maintenance concerns will be corrected as soon as possible. Emergency road repairs, such as road wash-outs, are handled on a top-priority basis.
The 1-800-FIX-ROAD number should not be used to report traffic accidents, disabled vehicles or other emergencies. Motorists should continue to call 911 to report these types of emergencies.
To learn about how potholes form and how PennDOT addresses them, view the department’s “Pothole Patrol” video on its YouTube page.
Join the conversation on social media with #PotholePatrol. Visit PennDOT’s Facebook page or visit us on Twitter at @PennDOTNews.
For more information, visit www.dot.state.pa.us.