Valley drivers feeling rough ride with up and down winter weather

So far, ODOT has spent more than $20,000 on cold patch in Trumbull and Mahoning counties

Potholes in Mahoning County are causing more headaches for Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti

GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – Winter weather means lots of expenses for road departments all across the area. But with little snow, it’s not plowing that’s driving up costs. The freeze and thaw cycle this year has been hard on roads and driver are feeling it.

Viewers wrote in to the WKBN 27 First News Facebook page to let us know where the worst potholes were across the Valley. There were a lot of answers: Route 11, Liberty Township, Girard, North Jackson, and several other municipalities.

Churchill Road in Girard is just one place where drivers are going slowly to dodge potholes. Mayor James Melfi said while rain is better than snow when it comes to plowing, the freezing water creates other problems that damage the road.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has to keep with hundreds of miles of roadway. At any one time, more than seven crews are out patching problem spots.

Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Brent Kovacs said crews are out patching potholes throughout the winter.
Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Brent Kovacs said crews are out patching potholes throughout the winter.

“If we are not plowing snow this time of year, we are pothole patching,” said spokesperson Brent Kovacs. “One thing this winter that has been key is the freeze and thaw cycle.”

That means a temporary fix like cold patch. Melfi said the material is not ideal and it doesn’t last very long.

“If you are lucky, you can get it to last four or five days. So, we are right back at it,” Melfi said. “The answer is more paving in the summer and there will be less havoc with potholes, but that requires a lot of money.”

Melfi said Churchill Road is scheduled for reconstruction in March.

So far, ODOT has spent more than $20,000 on cold patch in Trumbull and Mahoning counties and that number is sure to go up. Kovacs is planning for more snow and freezing temperatures Thursday and then a warmup with temperatures into the 50s on Saturday – and so the cycle continues.

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