Why are you seeing more potholes on the road?

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s been nearly a month since winter storms blew through Central Texas, but work continues to repair the damage left behind on the area’s streets and highways.

“Highways are very durable but they’re not necessarily waterproof,” said Chris Bishop, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Transportation.

He explained that when the water seeps into the roads and then freezes, the ice expands. That expansion can cause the asphalt to break apart.

“It’s essentially phase 3 of a weather emergency,” he said.

The third phase, he described, is the clean-up stage. It comes after the transportation agency worked to pre-treat and then continuously treat the roads during the storm. Those are the first two phases.

The third phase can take months to complete. That’s because most of the repairs require two parts.

“First of all, we get a pothole we go out with a ‘patch material’ and it’s a temporary patch material designed to fill the hole, smooth things out, and hold the line as it were – temporarily,” Bishop said. “Now we’re going to have to go back in the spring when things warm up enough to where we can make a permanent repair.”

It’s not just TxDOT making these repairs, the City of Austin has gotten 69 services requests between Feb. 14 and March 7 specifically related to potholes.

Bishop said it’s not just the road’s lanes, the weather can also impact traffic signals, striping and guardrails.

“They may not be working where you are, but they are working somewhere to try to keep the roads as clear and passible and safe as possible,” Bishop said about the crews.

People can contact the City of Austin’s 311 to put in a service request. At this time, both the city and transportation agency are tallying up the total cost for the weather-related infrastructure damage repairs.

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