Spokane, WA, City Crews Scramble to Keep Up with Winter Road Damage


Spokane, WA, Public Works teams have already completed three full-city plows since early November that involved more than 10,000 lane miles. Now they are scrambling to fill potholes left behind by a series of winter storms.

“Infrastructure and maintenance are things people don’t really think about until there is a problem,” said Public Works Director Marlene Feist in a statement. “The last six weeks has really highlighted the many improvements that have been made over time and how our team and systems successfully work together to meet the needs of the community.”

The National Weather Service reported 34 inches of snow in Spokane as of Dec. 22. That has sent millions of gallons of snow and rain runoff into a network of tanks for processing to protect the Spokane River where it is released.

The aftermath of winter storms has been potholes in roadways that street crews are chasing down and filling as they receive reports of problems from some of the 220,000 people that call Spokane home.

Feist explained in a news release that potholes are created by water getting into the pavement and holes in the pavement and freezing, which causes it to expand. Once that happens, asphalt breaks up to leave a hole that is then filled with water when warming occurs, causing it to grow.

City officials are asking residents to report potholes at 3-1-1. And to help prevent pavement damage by creating a path for melting snow, runoff and rain to reach drains along the street.

The city is also asking people to prevent motor fluids like oils and antifreeze from leaking on the ground and entering drains to pollute waterways.

Kirstin Davis, a city communications manager, also suggested people be neighborly and help each other out during a difficult time of year. That includes checking on vulnerable people when it is extremely cold, helping clear their sidewalks or offering to shop for groceries on difficult travel days.

We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

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