We know the potholes are bad....really bad, worse than usual.
Street crews are taking action! These include immediate, short-term and long-term actions. To best update these actions we will do our best to keep you informed of them here.
Immediate, Short-Term Action:
Crews have begun with temporary patches to the most critical areas, Washington St., University Ave., Cherry St. & Belmont Rd. These patches are in the category of "Cold Mix Repair" (see "Cold Mix" below) and are not permanent but will help bridge the gap until the frost comes up & permanent repairs are possible.
Our long-term action is to leverage the new sales tax for concrete reconstruction in key areas to minimize future need for pothole management. In November 2017 the Citizens of Grand Forks passed the Water & Roads Sales Tax which goes into effect April 1, 2018. Grand Forks will not start collecting that revenue until June 2018. The City has also increased the ongoing maintenance (pothole) budget by 171% with the new sales tax.
Does the City fix streets in general?
Yes. In fact, the city has been discussing the need for road maintenance for decades.
The solution to road maintenance and reconstruction requires large amounts of money. Federal and State aid for roads have been declining for years. The millions of dollars the city allocates for roads have not been able to keep up with the needs. Leaving us with limited resources to maintain the current road system.
With the passage of the sales tax, we will roughly double the amount we spend on rehab and reconstruction projects this summer.
We have an ambitious list of road projects and pending construction bids, plan for a big summer of road construction.
How long does it take to fill a pot hole?
It takes about 30- 60 minutes depending on the size and depth of the pothole damage. The bigger the hole, the more time is needed.
- The pothole area is physically cleaned of loose particles with a large pick in the hole.
- Then a heating propane torch goes into the pothole to thaw the area until warmed.
- The mix is prepared and patted into the hole.
- Shaping of the mix so that it is flat with the hole.
- Move to the next hole, repeat.
How many potholes are filled each day?
Over the past weeks, we are averaging about 200 potholes filled and refilled each day, but more recently, due to our increased efforts, we are averaging close to 250 a day. As we have added more crews and the weather warms up we will do less potholes as the mix cements and repairs the holes.
How does the City fix potholes?
Street crews are working with various materials and mixes for early season pothole patching until higher temps allow for bonding of pavement and patching materials for a more durable repair.
Our short-term action consists of a “Cold Mix Repair” this is used if the temperature is below 35 degrees. This happens typically between March to May and includes an asphalt material mix of fine aggregate and oil. The priorities here are to address sharp or deep potholes in the wheel paths. These can last as short as a couple of days to about a week and the process will have to be repeated until a more permanent patch can be implemented.
The next action is to apply a “Hot Mix Repair” with asphalt materials made of medium aggregate/various oil mixtures and/or oil/granite mixtures, when the temperature is above 35 degrees consistently. The priorities with this process are the “alligator” cracks, larger surface cracks and major/minor potholes. This takes place in the May-August timeframe.
A variation of the Hot and Cold Mix Repair is being used on sections of University Avenue where there are multiple surface cracks and potholes. They are using hot tar added to layered rock & tar into the pothole opening. This has been effective on University Avenue in the past 24 hours and we continue to monitor the hold.
What about this brine that has been put on the roads?
The brine mixture or “pickle juice” is a salt based product that offers a corrosiveness texture to the road. This brine is used primarily on large bridges such as Columbia Road and Demers Avenue as a safety precaution. Prior to not using the brine there were multiple accidents due to ice on the bridges and the only solution was to close the bridge altogether due to hazard. Since using the brine, the bridges have never been closed due to winter conditions.
Where are the crews working?
We have crews throughout the city addressing potholes on Demers Avenue, South Washington, Library Lane, 17th Avenue South, 24th Avenue South, South 21st Street, University Avenue, 32nd Avenue and Cherry Street and other residential neighborhoods. We are also handling complaint driven calls for potholes that need immediate care.
Residents can check on grandforksgov.com/potholes for the Grand Forks City map identifying areas of work for potholes that need repair. To report your concern use the GF311 app on Apple or Android or by calling the Public Information Center at 311.
Didn’t we pass a sales tax to take care of the streets?
Yes. The sales tax collection begins this April 1, 2018 and a portion of the tax, once collected, will be dedicated to street maintenance. With those funds the City is in the process of purchasing updated equipment - a single operator unit with in-cab injection controls and a trailer mounted unit, for a combination of efficient pothole filling, linear patching, and crack sealing capabilities to extend the life of the City’s newer pavement for years to come. Until then we are working on a temporary solution to our current problem with manual labor to open those holes and temporarily repair.
How many people does the City have working on potholes?
At this time we have four crews, 3 day crews and 1 evening crew, with a total of 16 people on the street. We have pulled public works crews off of other tasks – including street cleaning– to prioritize this concern. We also have crews working on the weekends and overtime shifts to tackle the problem. However, on days with extended periods of rain, or any other poor weather, then our hands are tied as we can’t fix potholes.
On March 9, 2018 crews began making immediate, but temporary (may last only 2-7 days), repairs (see "Cold Mix", below).
Here is a map of the worst areas in Grand Forks people have reported regarding potholes.
Crews will be addressing these areas first!
If you would like to report another area or specific pothole, please use the GF311 app.
The Grand Forks Streets Department does seasonal road repairs (fixing potholes) to help prolong the life of the road surface and provide a smooth ride for drivers in Grand Forks. This work is done in 2 ways depending on the weather conditions - see "Cold Mix" and "Warm Mix", below.
Cold Mix Repair
When: March - Mid-May
What: “Cold mix” or asphalt materials made of fine aggregate/oil mixture
Priorities: Sharp or deep potholes in wheel paths
Longevity: 2 days – 1 week as materials are heated and applied to cold surface
Challenges: Repetitive process until surface temperatures provides for more permanent patch
Hot Mix Repair
When: Mid-May - June
What: “Hot mix” or asphalt materials made of medium aggregate/various oil mixtures and/or oil/granite mixtures
Priorities: “Alligator” cracked, larger surface cracks and major/minor potholes
Longevity: Spring-Autumn Season
Challenges: Addressing many priorities, avoiding commute times, weather variations
Longer Term Actions
Many of the roads with the most potholes are scheduled for or will be considered for more long term actions like reconstruction.
One way this type of long term action is possible is by leveraging the Water and Roads Sales Tax passed by Grand Forks residents recently. The collection of this revenue does not begin until April 1, 2018 and reported to the City around June 2018 so projects supported this source are planned for this Summer and beyond.