GREENSBURG – Last week’s very cold weather and quickly rising temperatures have local street officials worried about potholes.
Greensburg Street Department Commissioner Klosterkemper said that the department’s primary challenge lies in battling declining revenues while material costs are rising.
He said the department gets its funding from the state, which collects the revenues from gasoline taxes. As motorists drive less or operate more fuel efficient vehicles, the state collects — and distributes — fewer dollars.
Meanwhile, asphalt prices have roughly doubled to $60 a ton in the last six years, Klosterkemper said.
And if the department spends lots of money on pothole repairs, it will have fewer dollars to spend this summer on resurfacing the city’s 70 miles of streets.
That means the local department plans to deal solely with the worst potholes.
City crews on Monday morning patched one of those areas, on Lincoln Street, south of the Decatur County Memorial Hospital, Klosterkemper said. The area has had drainage issues, which made the problem worse.
Any current fixes, however, will be just temporary, officials said, because hot-mix asphalt will not be available until March or April. Plants that produce hot-mix asphalt, which is used primarily in construction, shut down in the winter. Until spring, pothole patrols will make repairs with a liquid asphalt and construction aggregate, which includes gravel and crushed stone.
Harry Maginity, a spokesman for the Seymour District of the Indiana Department of Transportation, said depending on the number of freezes and thaws and the frequency with which a road is used, crews may have to make a temporary patch two or three times before the hot-mix asphalt becomes available.
“We just have to keep fighting,” Maginity said.
The Seymour District is responsible for 4,675 lane miles of state roads and 755 lane miles of interstate, according to its Facebook page.