By Art Hunter
A colder than normal winter has taken a toll on Clermont County’s 400 miles of county roads – it’s filled them with potholes.
County Engineer Pat Manger says that he’s never seen a bigger problem with potholes.
“This is the worst that I can remember, and I’ve been county engineer since 2003,” he said.
Manger said that the problem is directly related to the prolonged, extremely cold temperatures we experienced this winter.
“It’s a function of the winter,” he said. “With the hard, deep freeze and then the thaw, the asphalt starts popping in different spots.”
Jim Jennings, a blacktop crew foreman with the engineer’s office, said that it is definitely a bad year for potholes.
“In a good year, we’ll have one crew out,” he said. “It’s so bad this year that we’ve got four crews out right now doing nothing but patching potholes.”
He said that in a good year, he will use 10 tons of the mix used to patch the holes. This year, he’s already ordered 30 tons and may need more.
Manger said that his crews are trying to take care of the potholes as fast as they can, but there are two things working against them. The first is that there are so many holes to fill, and the second is that it is still too cold to fix them permanently.
He said that the material that would normally be used to repair holes, a hot mix, is not available because the asphalt plants aren’t open because of the cold. The product that is used in cold weather, called “cold patch,” doesn’t provide a permanent repair.
“It’s called cold patch and it’s just that, a patch, not a permanent repair,” Manger said. “A lot of things we will repair today, and in two weeks they will need to be done again.”
Manger said that the latest figures available, for the month of December, show the $20,000 cost for pothole repair is at least 25 percent higher than last year.
The cost for snow and ice control for the year, which includes the 5,853 tons of salt spread on county roads, was $476,567, up by more than $81,000 over last year. He said that the additional spending will affect other projects this year.
“We’ll have to make some adjustments, for sure,” Manger said. “We only have so much revenue coming in, so some projects may have to be deferred to next year.”
To report a pothole, visit www.clermontengineer.org and click on “Report a Pothole” or call (513) 732-8869.