County crews fill in potholes - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

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County crews fill in potholes

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Drivers may notice a few bumps along the road. As the frost begins to melt, more potholes are developing, and staff at the La Crosse County Highway Department said they now have hundreds to fix.

"Every time you salt the road really heavy, you're creating an environment for pavement failure," said Steve Grafft, section patrolman for the highway department.

Grafft and his crew are trying to fix those failures. They're out multiple times each week, walking miles on stretches of highways, filling the gaps in the road that are finally beginning to thaw.

"If the hole is too shallow, the pothole matching material will just come back out again within days," Grafft added..

If there's a lot of water build-up in the roads, the frost thaws during the day and re-freezes at night. The county highway department said they've had to patch some areas more than once already.

"Potholes are a pain in the neck," said Joe Clements, patrol superintendent for the county highway department.

According to Clements, the department is stocking up on materials to fill in the gaps during this busy time.

"We're just trying to stay ahead of it," Clements said. "I don't think there's ever really a time you can stay ahead of potholes, especially this time of year."

In his 15 years with the county, Grafft said potholes are always the worst at the end of winter.

"I've seen the roads deteriorate worse and worse each year because of the increase in traffic," he said.

Fixing potholes has also kept the city of La Crosse Streets and Highways Department busy.

While crews say they haven't necessarily seen more potholes this year, they all developed around the same time since the snow didn't thaw throughout the winter. That means there's a lot of water build up.

"It was to the point there were hundreds all at the same time, and we only have one patch crew so you just have to -- basically we just comb for the worst ones first and then we go back and we actually walk the arterial streets again and get the smaller ones," said Andy Bakalars, assistant street superintendent.

The city said they've filled most of the potholes on main roads. Crews will now start patching up side streets.
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