Road maintenance crews are bracing for some busy days of pothole filling as temperatures warm up, but one official said he doesn't expect it to be a bad year.
Potholes happen when moisture seeps into pockets underneath the roads and freezes overnight. The water expands when it freezes, and vehicles traveling over the area create enough pressure to leave a pothole.
Here's MPR's Tim Nelson, joining a city pothole crew:
Mike Kennedy, director of transportation, maintenance and repair for the city of Minneapolis, said city crews have been able to keep up so far because there hasn't been a sudden explosion of potholes.
"People kind of keep asking, when are the potholes going to come out? Is it pothole season yet? And we just haven't seemed to have really seen a big pothole bloom or explosion that we typically would see in February or March sometime," he said.
Kennedy said the city has worked hard in the past few years to repave and seal roads, which helps prevent potholes. In addition, the drawn out winter has delayed the freeze-thaw conditions that contribute to potholes.
"It still possibly could happen," Kennedy said. "The long range forecast is talking about some freeze-thawing, and if we get some rain that they're talking about and we get a little more freeze-thaw, it could happen again. A lot of people have this vision of potholes everywhere, and I don't anticipate that, but we still could have somewhat of a problem."
City crews got a reprieve last year because of a mild winter with little snow. More potholes are expected this year than last year.
In St. Paul, public works officials say they're busy and expect to get busier.
"I expect it to get a little worse before it gets better," said Kevin Nelson, the city's street and bridge maintenance engineer.
Nelson said city crews are keeping up so far and that the weather conditions have been good for filling the potholes. But he doesn't expect a break like they saw last year.
"Seems like we're back to a typical spring," he said.