Changing temperatures and moisture combine to bring potholes to life. Street maintenance crews worked last week to fill potholes on Old 56 Hwy. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz

It’s pothole season.
With the recent freeze and thaw cycle, potholes are sprouting like mushrooms in spring, causing street maintenance crews to hustle.
“In 2016, Gardner street crews spent more than 1000 man hours, applying near 300 tons of asphalt repairing deteriorated pavements and roadway,” said Daneeka Marshall-Oquendo, Gardner public information officer.
Residents may report potholes by making a service request online at
“We get a moderate amount of citizen reports for damaged roadways and concrete curbs,” Marshall-Oquendo said.
According to the American Public Words Association, there are several ways to fix potholes including: hotpatch semi-permanent; spray injection devices; edge seal as a follow up and cold patch (throw and roll.)
This time of year cold mix asphalt may be used as a permanent repair, if conditions are right; however, it is usually used as a bandaid to allow scheduling for a more permanent repair, Marshall-Oquendo said.
Pothole patching is performed either as an emergency repair during harsh conditions, or as a routine maintenance scheduled for warmer or drive periods. Typically, emergency repairs are done only when a pothole presents a substantial safety or traffic operational problem and must be urgently corrected.
Proper maintenance of streets including timeliness of repair and quality of materials and techniques can keep potholes down to a minimum.
Deferred street maintenance can create an expensive backlog of repairs. According to APWA, for every $1 spent to keep a road in good condition, it avoids $6-$14 needed later to rebuild the same road.
Gardner recently adopted 10 Year Pavement Management Program, which was initiated to preserve and maintain the city’s street network. Work began this year after voters approved a 10 year half cent sales tax.
The tax allows the city to take a more proactive, comprehensive approach to rebuilding and maintaining all of its infrastructure, such as roads, sidewalks, curbs, stormwater and trails that are identified for improvements. About 63 percent of voters supported the sales tax renewal.