City dealing with spring thaw problems

With the spring thaw in full effect, warm temperatures are taking their toll on roads and underground infrastructure.

As the ground temperatures warm up, the frost layer is actually pushed down lower than during the winter freeze. With water saturation levels and extended colder than normal temperatures this winter, pushing the frost level below 7 feet due to heavy rains last summer and fall, many of the city’s utility lines are suffering.

The city’s already experienced numerous breaks, frozen service lines and could expect more, according to Dan Jonasson, Public Works director. However, crews have been working non-stop to restore water service any time there is an interruption.

As with every spring, melting ice and snow on the road is creating a number of potholes that will need to wait a few more weeks before they can be permanently repaired. Permanent repairs are not possible until asphalt companies begin to produce the “hot mix” needed for the repairs, and more importantly, until temperatures remain constant into the overnight hours.

“We’re out making temporary repairs as fast as we can get to them, but often times those patches don’t even last 24 hours due to thawing and freezing, as well as traffic driving over them.”

Jonasson said the city uses a product called “Omega mix” for the temporary fixes, but the area needs to be completely dry prior to the repair, and that is nearly impossible during a thaw.

Motorists are asked to use caution and slow down to avoid potential damage to their vehicle. When drivers see a small standing pool of water on a road, it’s an indication of a potential pothole, and there’s no telling how deep it will be. Officials advise drivers to stay in their lane of traffic, but try to avoid it if possible.