Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 7, 2014

Another hazard

Next 'gift' from this winter is likely to be many potholes

The Independent

ASHLAND — With scores of water line breaks leaving hundreds of area residents unable to get the essential resource they need to wash their clothes, take a bath or shower, flush the commode and safely drink, power lines falling from the weight of ice and snow resulting in thousands of other area residents being without electricity, and area school systems missing so many days that it may be the middle of June before this school year ends, what other bad things can possibly happen as a result of this harsh winter?

Well, we can think of one, and it is just beginning to be a problem in this area: potholes.

Potholes occur whenever water seeps into the cracks in paved roadways — and they all have them — and that water expands when it freezes. When the frozen water melts, potholes occur. There really is no way to prevent them.

While potholes are yet to be a  major problem in this area, we have encountered more than a few of them while driving around the area in recent days, including a few large ones.

Expect the number of potholes to increase dramatically in the coming days. Motorists who have already had to battle heavy snows and icy roadways should be on the lookout for potholes, which can easily damage vehicles, particularly to tires and alignment. Some can even cause accidents, both by drivers losing control when they hit a pothole or by striking another vehicles or roadside objects while trying to avoid a pothole.

Meanwhile, repairing potholes is another added expense state, county and city governments can expect to encounter in a winter that has already been a costly one.

We hate to be the bearer of more bad news, but we know from decades of experience that potholes always pop up when frozen water thaws. Watch out for them, and if you know of a particularly large pothole, contact the appropriate government agency, be it state, county or municipal. Government employees are not all knowing. They can’t fill in a pothole unless they know about it. Sure, we know our government employees have been working long hours mending water lines and clearing roadways of snow and ice, but potholes are too dangerous to ignore. Let the appropriate officials know about them.

Meanwhile, we don’t care what the lowly groundhog predicted, we’re still hoping for an early spring. Even our politicians in our divided governments in Washington and Frankfort would surely agree Old Man Winter has worn out his welcome this year.