Recent Rains Turn Midland Streets into Obstacle Courses

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND--If you've been driving around the streets of the Tall City, no doubt you've seen or even hit a couple of potholes.

"We always see an increase in the number of potholes after a rain storm and we are out in mass, checking them and seeing what we need to fix, immediately after it rains," According to Asst. Transportation Manager, Eric Johnson, said.

Johnson and his crews have been hitting the streets hard this week, making sure something small, doesn't end up being something bigger.

 "A pothole starts out very small and, as you've seen in the city, can get very big, very quick.  So we look for those areas that need to be fixed immediately," Johnson said.

Johnson tells NewsWest 9, water is asphalt's worst enemy.  But it isn't just rain that can cause problems.  Something as simple as watering your lawn, could end up in a costly
patch job.

"Water can find little places in the asphalt and get down into the base.  Once there's water in the base, it creates a soft spot underneath and as the cars hit that soft spot, it just chips out the asphalt that much more," Johnson explained.

The more asphalt that gets chipped out, the more water that gets underneath, creating a domino effect.

Driving over potholes is no picnic.  With 30 years experience under his belt, Kevin Courtney, the owner of The Alignment Shop, knows what kind of damage they can do to you car. 

"If a hole is big enough to do damage to a front end, and you hit it hard enough, it will actually change the way the vehicle drives or change the position of the steering wheel, if it actually bends the suspension part."

Repairs can run from $59 to $65 for simple alignment job and up to $300-$400 for parts that need to be completely replaced.

So what should you do when you're not sure if the pothole you are about to hit may damage your car?

"Obviously avoid any hole you can see, straddle it if you can," Courtney recommended.

Midland Residents are encouraged to call and report potholes, but Johnson reminds you, don't get upset if the one you reported isn't patched right away, "We have to fix the worst potholes and the ones that are going to cause the most damage first.  Even though they might not see any action taken, there is a response fairly soon, on an inspection."

If you live in Midland and would like to report a pothole on your street or in your neighborhood, there are two ways you can do that.  You can call the Citizen's Action Center at 685-7474 and make a report, or you can call the City of Midland's Pothole Hotline at 685-7298.