Potholes may cost the city of Elkhart an additional $2 million

Elkhart City Council will eventually be asked to approve money to smooth over impact of wild winter weather. 

Posted on April 18, 2014 at 2:19 p.m.

ELKHART — Elkhart’s pothole problem is beyond just a need for patchwork.

In some cases, damage left in the wake of winter's wretched weather is so severe that entire stretches of roadway will need to be replaced and the price tag for additional repairs could reach $2 million, according to Mayor Dick Moore.

Annually, the city normally expends about $1 million in pothole and paving projects so the price tag could reach $3 million total.

Street commissioner Marty Morgan said the impact from winter was the worst he’s seen in his 14 years with the city.

In some cases, cracks in the pavement combined with existing holes caused some asphalt to essentially crumble.

“As cold as it was and as deep as the frost was, it blew them out even more than the normal freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw” pattern, Morgan said.

Moore said Friday the total additional cost may reach $2 million.

And he said, that doesn't include another request that will be needed later this year for overtime for the street department for leaf pickup in the fall.

The street department already used its allotted $130,000 for overtime as crews battled one of the snowiest and coldest winters in recent history. 

Wish list
According to street commissioner Marty Morgan, among the portions of roads that may be re-paved this summer in Elkhart:
■ Johnson Street from Sunset Avenue to Woodlawn Avenue.
■ Indiana from Nappanee Street to Benham Avenue and possibly further.
■ Prairie Street from Lusher Avenue to Indiana Avenue.
■ John Weaver Parkway from C.R. 10 to SR 19
■ Benham Avenue from Hively Avenue to Mishawaka Road.
■ Bent Oak Trail from the club house to C.R. 7.

In a normal year, Elkhart’s road improvement program adds new paving surface to 10 to 15 miles and Moore said he believes roads damaged this year increase that by five to six miles.

After a firm list of roads projects is established, Moore said he’ll confer with controller Steve Malone to develop a plan to fund it.

The city could pull money from several sources, including the rainy day fund, but that will require approval from city council.

Council meets Monday, but such a request is not on the agenda, meaning the topic will probably not come up until May.

While officials are still finalizing its road repair plan, Morgan rattled off a wish list of pockmarked roadways that he thinks could be among those addressed this year.

At the top of the list is a stretch of the heavily traveled Johnson Street between Sunset Avenue to Woodlawn Avenue, according to Morgan.

Preliminary work could begin in about a week and it may entail reconstructing part of the road, Morgan said.

Those repairs may require part of the road to be completely closed for a few days, Morgan said.

Johnson Street was among a handful of roads that were already on the list for repaving, but winter weather made circumstances worse, Morgan said.

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