Duluth Public Works Crews Tackle Potholes, Encounter Obstacles

Crews' work doubling due to weather and water.

DULUTH, Minn.- Warmer air means Duluth Public Works crews are out in force tackling all those potholes around town.

But the melting snow is making any permanent solution, temporary.

It took crews an hour to finish 100 yards of a stretch of 35th Avenue East.

But looking back on their work, they saw the water runoff and tire treads already opening potholes up again.

“My guess is with 50 degree weather we’ll probably have to touch this up again Monday or Tuesday.,” said Geoff Vukelich, Lead Worker for Street Maintenance. “With the amount of water coming off the hillside it doesn’t take long.”

This is because they are forced to use less effective cold patch until the weather changes and asphalt plants re–open.

They’re doing everything they can given poor road quality and their small 38-person department, crews said.

Even though, it may look to the public that they’re not doing enough.

“If they would invest a little bit more energy into figuring out why we do what we do,” Vukelich said. “Sometimes it doesn’t make rhyme or reason to them, but we do have rhyme and reason and unfortunately we are reactionary. I wish I could say that we could be more proactive.”

“Unfortunately we have to be reactive and that just takes time, and if people could understand that, I think it would be a benefit to all.”

A big way to help is to report bad areas online or over the phone.

Otherwise, they prioritize main roads before residential streets, even though, they say, it’s bad all over.

Officials add that they notice many people swerving violently to avoid deep potholes.

All in all, they advise to slow down, because being the slow guy in the road is worth saving your tires and tie rods from serious damage.

They also say not to trust that there’s always road underneath those large puddles.

They might be potholes.

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