First Repeating Snowstorms, Now Potholes

DULUTH, Minn.- Old Man Winter has not been kind to Duluth’s streets this season. While Duluth Public Works crews have been busy battling snow, potholes have invaded roads.

The peaceful rumble of a car rolling by is suddenly broken.

This winter, Missy Smith has had quite a rocky commute to work every morning.

“I drive in like I said from Solon Springs, and Highway 53 is completely full of potholes,” Smith said. “As soon as you enter into town off of the real Highway.”

Now when she gets to Dee’s Independent Cleaners on Superior street and 10th Avenue East, she still has to deal with those pests.

“Superior Street and London Road, you really have to kinda like navigate around the potholes. It damages cars really bad.”

“And not everybody can afford to have their cars fixed.”

It’s no secret potholes are a problem in Duluth.

Vehicles bounce and rock through many intersections.

“We pay taxes, and we expect that to be able to drive on streets that are halfway decent,” Smith said.

But city officials say while fighting snow, their 36 plow operators can’t do much more.

“The constant snowfall, and the fact that we have to keep going out to plow and grade,” said Street Maintenance Manager Chad Bednar.

The bitter cold also means they have to use less effective materials.

“We were forced to use cold patch this time of year or cold mix and it pulls out easier, doesn’t adhere as well as the hot mix,” he said.

Unfortunately, as the freeze thaw cycle ramps up over spring, they won’t switch to hot asphalt until may.

City officials want to reiterate that despite problems caused by the weather, they are very aware of the potholes and are committing resources to it.

You can report severe potholes through their winter hotline, or by filing a complaint on their website.

“I would hope that they start to put some work into this neighborhood structurally,” said Wyatt Lindberg.

Potholes in Lincoln Park are an issue for another group.

“I think if anything it effects we can’t really skate on the street as much anymore,” Lindberg said.

While winter isn’t prime skateboarding season, Damage Boardshop, where Lindberg works, still gets a lot of foot traffic.

“With there being more cars here now, and more people, and when you drive around so slow it feels like you almost get stuck in potholes and that can be a hassle,” Lindberg said.

No matter where, with potholes, one thing’s for sure.

“It’s like if you’re gonna neglect it, it’s only gonna get worse.”

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