When the snow clears potholes may appear

pothole-blog-photoNow that the snow and ice has melted in parts of unincorporated King County, damage to the road is being revealed. Snow and ice, with the associated freezing and thawing leads directly to increases in roadway surface defects including potholes, pavement cracking and frost boils.

Potholes are holes in the roadway that vary in size. They often begin to form when water enters the ground underneath the road’s surface pavement. When the water freezes, it expands. This causes the pavement on the surface of the road to bend, crack and eventually break out. The process is accelerated when vehicles drive over the roads. During extended periods of wet and/or freezing weather, the amount of potholes created in roadway surfaces can increase dramatically.

King County Road Services (Roads) responds to reports of potholes and other roadway surface defects around the clock. Crews repair all potholes that pose an immediate safety concern by using cold mix asphalt to fill the hole. Cold mix asphalt is a temporary repair used to address the immediate safety issue. Once the weather is drier and warmer, usually in the spring, crews schedule to return to many of these areas to perform a permanent hot mix asphalt repair. Hot mix asphalt requires warmer and drier weather in order for it to adhere properly.

Although the county only has a small percentage of the needed funding to preserve some of the existing infrastructure, a portion of county roadways are selected annually to be resurfaced with new asphalt. This pavement preservation work will likely begin in mid-summer of 2017 and will include portions of Novelty Hill Road, SE Lake Holm Road and Rainier Avenue S among others.

Road issues in unincorporated King County such as potholes can be reported to King County’s 24/7 Road Helpline at 206-477-8100 or toll-free at 800-527-6237 at any time. These phones are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For non-urgent issues, you can also email Roads at maint.roads@kingcounty.gov.

Visit the Roads website for more on potholes and road maintenance.