Subzero temperatures that lasted longer than normal, coupled with a quick thawing period, have wreaked havoc on roads.
"We have 400 miles of asphalt, and 300 miles of that has pothole problems," Utah County engineer Clyde Naylor said. "There just isn't enough money to pave the roads very often. We have had every available man out working on potholes since the frost broke."Carl Craner, District 6 maintenance engineer for the Utah Department of Transportation, said potholes are caused by water percolating through the pavement and freezing, making the road surface buckle, or by water percolating down through the pavement into the subsoil and pushing against the road base as it thaws - resulting in the asphalt disintegrating. He said District 6 has five crews working around the county on pothole problems.
Steve Webber, division manager for streets and parks for Orem, said he has been in the area three years and has never seen the roads in such poor shape. He said Orem crews are working on repairing pothole problems in the mornings and on controlling flooding problems in the afternoons. A third priority for the city is clearing cul-de-sacs of ice and snow.
Tom Manzanares, senior street superintendent for Provo, said he has had two crews filling potholes daily.
"Potholes are a fact of life," Manzanares said. "But the road base is so saturated that we are not only having potholes, but areas with heavy traffic are having blowouts."
Manzanares said a blowout occurs when the asphalt completely crumbles because it is so saturated with water.
Springville and Spanish Fork road crews are also working full time to keep up with pothole problems.
Utah County roads with significant pothole problems are Geneva Road, South State Street, Provo; 26th North, Pleasant Grove; Eighth East, Orem; 650 South, Orem; Sixth South, Provo; 12th South, Spanish Fork.