The Twin Cities' pothole patching season begins in earnest today.
Dump trucks started lining up this morning at the city of St. Paul's asphalt plant to load up on hot asphalt.
It's the first day the plant is supplying the mix used for permanent road patching. Cold weather usually makes it impractical to fire up the plant before mid March.
But Bruce Beese, public works director, said they're getting an early start this year thanks to warm weather.
"For the plant to be effective, we need to keep our oil reservoirs at about 300 degrees, and so we started the process about a week and a half ago, to get those things up to temperature, to to check out the equipment and get it ready for today," Beese said.
Public works crews from around the Twin Cities are expected to load up hundreds of tons of asphalt today to start filling in potholes around the metro area.
St. Paul started up its plant more than a week ago, because it takes days to heat up the oil tanks that feed asphalt production.
More plants will open when the weather warms, and it's easier to keep the raw materials for asphalt hot.