Water covering potholes creates challenge for Goshen Street Department

A foreman with the Goshen Street Department says melting snow and rain are creating challenges for crews tasked with fixing potholes.

Posted on Feb. 20, 2014 at 7:58 p.m.

GOSHEN — It’s going to be a bumpy weekend.

Thawing snow and ice combined with rain and warmer weather are creating the perfect storm. It is not unusual for potholes to start popping up under those conditions, but road crews are running into one big problem.

“Because of the snow and water, the potholes are flooded, and we can’t find a lot of them,” said David Gibbs, a foreman with the Goshen Street Department. “We had a patch crew out Wednesday doing what we could before the rain, but we just couldn’t get them all.”

The city’s street department cannot start fixing potholes until there is less water ponding on the roads. Gibbs said the street department may deploy a crew to patch potholes Friday, Feb. 21, but they will not likely be out in full force until after the weekend.

The Elkhart Street Department is in same boat.

“We were prepared to go out today, but because of the water now, we can’t,” Christie McCray, who oversees office services for the Elkhart city street department, said Thursday, Feb. 20.

In the meantime, Gibbs has some simple advice for drivers: Slow down.

“I’ve had people passing me coming up through high flooded areas and not even touching their brakes,” he said. “If they hit that water that fast and there is a hole in there, they’re going to hurt themselves.”

The Elkhart County Highway Department, on the other hand, plans to begin fixing potholes Friday and continue throughout the weekend. Roads that have been recently paved have fewer potholes than roads that have been on the waiting list for maintenance, according to highway manager Jeff Taylor.

Cavities in roads have been a problem all winter, Gibbs added.

“This year, with the way this winter has been, the potholes have been everywhere,” he said. “We have general areas where we know potholes are going to be, but this year they’ve been everywhere. No matter where you’re at, the road is breaking up.”

The conditions have left Elkhart city workers with no alternative but to wait following a winter season that has seen related road problems surface repeatedly.

“The guys are working and giving it their all,” McCray said. “I am so proud of my street department.”

Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.

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