Ah, spring. Flowers are starting to bloom, the weather is beginning to get nicer (except for the occasional snowstorm), and potholes are finding their way onto the streets.
While April is typically one of the worst months for potholes to occur due to moisture as well as a possible freeze-thaw cycle, a Fort Collins Coloradoan article reports that Fort Collins drivers are actually seeing fewer of them on the roads.
What is contributing to this change? Less snow in the city, a diligent street maintenance program, and an efficient vehicle permitting one worker to quickly clean, fill and pack a pothole are all reasons drivers are experiencing smoother rides.
According to City of Fort Collins Streets Department Director Larry Schneider, only around 550 potholes have been patched by the city so far this year. Sound like a lot? Usually around 6,000 potholes are patched by the city in a year, but this is significantly down from 14,000 in 2014.
The key to this downward trend is a proactive streets surfacing program that stops the potholes before they start by resurfacing the streets ahead of time. This is essential to prevent cracks that ultimately turn into potholes, especially with frequent vehicle use.
For the potholes that do occur, Schneider said the city now spends about $100,000 a year, down from $170,000 a year that the city used to spend on potholes. Two vehicles specifically made to fill potholes aid the city, and during the peak of pothole season, two crews are typically running.
The pothole vehicles are tremendously effective at increasing the rate at which the potholes can be filled. Compared to only 10 to 15 potholes that can be done a day by hand, the pothole vehicles allow 30 to 40 potholes to be done a day.
Potholes are addressed when they are observed by crews and when the public and other agencies notify the city’s pothole hotline. A good number in Fort Collins to call to report a pothole is 970-221-6614, and potholes can typically be filled by crews within two business days.
So as spring continues to unfold, enjoy the ride to work knowing the roads are smoother than they have been as the city paves the way to better streets.