'Tis the season for potholes in Missoula, and the season has begun in earnest.

Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Missoula Bruce Bender said on Thursday, February 20, that Missoula experienced the perfect conditions for the worst kind of potholes this winter.

"It was the combination of a lot of moisture, thawing and then freezing, that's when it takes off," Bender said. "With all the snow we got last week, then it warms up and the water gets into the cracks, and then it gets cold again, the combination creates some nasty potholes. It happened over the weekend. I noticed some streets that looked pretty good, wham... just like that, they took off."

Bender describes the most dangerous kinds of potholes.

"Those are the ones that are full of water," Bender said. "You can't see it as a driver, and pretty soon you hit it. Those are the worst, because they can do damage to cars."

Bender said the city has been working hard, conditions permitting, to take care of the worst of the potholes, but while the weather is still wet, repairs are much more difficult.

"It's a double problem, because we have water in the pothole," Bender said. "You can't just go out and put asphalt in it because it's not going to hold up, so we have to bring our trucks and suck the water out, then follow with our patcher."

To let the city know the worst of the potholes, drivers are encouraged to go to their website and report the location. Bender said, like plowing snow, they work on the routes with the most, and fastest-moving traffic first.

"It happens every year," Bender said. "And this spring will be no exception."

Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Missoula Bruce Bender


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