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State DOT News



Nathan Jerke
Public Information Specialist
(208) 886-7809

UPDATE: Drivers advised to watch for potholes, roadway breakup

Note: Example of roadway hazard signs included in last paragraph.

BOISE – During times of high moisture and multiple freeze-thaw cycles, much like has been experienced throughout many parts of Idaho in recent weeks, older sections of roadway often show sign of stress with potholes and broken pavement.

Potholes and areas of major breakup develop as water seeps into cracks and saturates the base material below the roadway surface. Ice expands in the cracks and base material, loosens the road surface, and it collapses as it melts and traffic drives over the top.

Here is written and video information on how potholes are formed.

“There is usually enough time during most winter storms for our road maintenance crews to complete repairs,” ITD Chief Highway Engineer Kimbol Allen said. “So far this winter season, however, crews have had little time between storms to do much more than prepare for the next storm to hit.”

Potholes are a common problem in older or stressed roadways generally seen during late winter as temperatures begin to rise above freezing. However, the abundant moisture coupled with a wide range of temperatures has created similar conditions and widespread roadway breakup.

During winter storms, the first priority of ITD crews will be to clear snow and ice from the roadways. Attention to potholes is a secondary duty for crews to fill them with temporary patching material but continued moisture quickly loosens and breaks the patches. Only after the potholes are able to dry completely can a more durable patching material be used and be expected to last. Other secondary duties include guardrail repair, sign repairs or replacement, and equipment repair.

Drivers are reminded that potholes and other broken pavement sections are considered roadway hazards and drivers need to take extra precaution to avoid hitting these spots. Potholes and roadway hazards are often marked with roadway breakup signs or hazard markers. Drivers should watch for roadway breakup signs in areas of major break up or smaller, diamond-shaped signs to signify areas of breakup, eroded shoulders or other hazards.

The Idaho Transportation Department is responsible for all highways on the State Highway System – interstates, state highways and U.S. routes. All other roads are under the jurisdiction of the local, city or county entity.