After the Storm: ‘We are only halfway done’

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If you’ve driven this week, you’ve already seen potholes and, hopefully, dodged them.

“Potholes form when moisture collects in small holes and cracks in the road surface,” the American Automobile Association, or AAA, wrote in a press release. “As temperatures rise and fall, the moisture expands and contracts due to freezing and thawing. This breaks up the pavement and, combined with the weight of passing cars, eventually results in a pothole.”

Maumelle has 82 miles of city-maintained streets, in addition to the roads maintained by the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

“We kind of look at it as, as we're only really halfway done with the response to the storm,” Maumelle Mayor Caleb Norris said. “Because the first half is actually getting the snow off the road the other half is, you know, everything else.”

So, potholes, but that isn’t it.

“We have identified some parts of city streets that may look like there’s no potholes,” Norris said. “But we think the structural integrity of that area has been compromised. So we will be hitting those as well as filling the potholes.”

Morris added that if someone sees a pothole, the best course of action is to notify the city so it can be repaired.

“There’s an app for that,” he said. “See Click Fix and that will get them in the queue as soon as possible. “You can also report them on the city website, the city’s Facebook page or they can just call Public Works at 851-2812.”

To protect from pothole damage, the AAA recommends:

  • Inspect Tires – Make sure tires are properly inflated and have enough tread . An underinflated or badly worn tire is more likely to suffer damage, or allow the wheel or suspension to be damaged, when hitting a pothole. When checking tire pressures, ensure they are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended levels, which can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker on the driver’s door jamb. Do not use the pressure levels stamped on the sidewall of the tire. To check the tread depth, insert a quarter into the tread groove with Washington’s head upside down. The tread should cover part of Washington’s head. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to start shopping for new tires.

  • Inspect Suspension – Make certain struts, shock absorbers and other suspension parts are in good condition. Changes in vehicle handling, excessive vibration or uneven tire wear can indicate damaged or worn components. Have the suspension inspected by a certified technician if you suspect problems.

  • Look Ahead – Make a point of checking the road ahead for potholes. An alert driver may have time to avoid potholes, so it’s important to stay focused on the road and not any distractions inside or outside the vehicle. Before swerving to avoid a pothole, check surrounding traffic to ensure this won’t cause a collision or endanger nearby pedestrians or cyclists.

  • Slow Down – If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce speed safely being sure to check the rearview mirror before any abrupt braking. Hitting a pothole at higher speeds greatly increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels and suspension components

  • Beware of Puddles – A puddle of water can disguise a deep pothole. Use care when driving through puddles and treat them as though they may be hiding potholes.

  • Check Alignment – Hitting a pothole can knock the wheels out of alignment and affect the steering. If a vehicle pulls to the left of right, have the wheel alignment checked by a qualified technician.

  • Recognize Noises/Vibrations – A hard pothole impact can dislodge wheel weights, damage a tire or wheel, and bend or even break suspension components. Any new or unusual noises or vibrations that appear after hitting a pothole should be inspected immediately by a certified technician.