Indiana warns drivers: Watch out for, report potholes


Just after you get used to navigating the snow and ice, you may be dodging potholes.

With warmer temperatures and rain in the forecast, the winter mess will soon be gone, but as Nathan Riggs with INDOT notes, the freeze/thaw cycle provides "prime conditions for pothole creation."

Dane Benner, stepping around the slushy streets Tuesday afternoon, said potholes weren't a big problem for him.

"No, it's not bad yet. I haven't noticed it," Benner said. "I think the city does a wonderful job of taking care of the streets."

But Bill Jarrell, who drives a wrecker, said when the snow starts to melt, he often sees a bump in drivers needing a tow.

"They hit a pothole and have front-end damage and underbody damage or flat tires," said Jarrell.

Mark Alford said the damage isn't limited to cars and trucks. Alford, who rides his bike year-round, recently hurt his wrist after hitting a pothole and being thrown from his bike.

"It's a big problem, especially when you have lots of ice covering up the potholes so it's difficult to see when you're riding," he said. "Sometimes there's no avoiding it."

"As the water gets into the road sub-grade, it can expand, creating a void and as it melts and warms up again, traffic can cause it to collapse," said Riggs.

The winter of 2011 was especially bad for potholes along interstate highways and city streets.

In the first two weeks of February the city took 1,500 calls on potholes. And that's not all. The city's legal department reports it received 1,247 tort claims for pothole-related damage. In 2012, which was much more mild, the city received 145 claims.

Both the city and INDOT will repair potholes year-round as long as they're not busy clearing snow and ice.

Tuesday afternoon crews were out patching several streets, including on East 12th Street.

According to information provided by the Department of Public Works, the city has received 110 "pothole service orders" since January 1st, repairing 110 potholes.

Alford is glad to hear about the patch work, noting as drivers try to steer clear of potholes, "that becomes a problem for me because I have to watch out for the cars avoiding potholes. It's a chain of events it can create."

To report a pothole on a numbered state route, interstate or U.S. highway, contact an INDOT district office or use the "Report a Concern" tool here.

If the pothole is within Indianapolis city limits, report it to the Mayor's Action Center.