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Brutal pothole season takes toll on Twin Cities residents

A city worker fills a pothole with a temporary mixture. (Georgia Fort/BLCK Press)

The 2022-23 winter is currently the third snowiest in recorded Minnesota history, and the toll it’s taken on the roads is putting dents in both vehicles and wallets.

“For a lot of people it’s an inconvenience, it’s not something they planned for,” Wilson Halley, from Wilson’s Auto Shop in Minneapolis, said. “It’s something that happened on their way to work or coming back from work. That’s never a good situation.”

Halley says he’s seeing people coming in every day with issues directly related to potholes. They include damaged transmissions, broken tires, broken front bumpers and steering wheels that shake at high speeds.

Because of the extended winter weather, road crews are only just now beginning the work of filling in the holes, some of which have grown to several feet in length.

Minneapolis officials say that each year the city engages in 20 miles of seal coating, 30 miles of crack sealing, and 31 miles of street resurfacing and reconstruction. Minneapolis has over 1,000 miles of streets.

“We don’t magically know where the potholes are,” Director of Minneapolis Public Works Margaret Anderson Keller said. “We need people to tell us how long the pothole is, how deep the pothole is, where the pothole is.”

Both Minneapolis and St. Paul city governments host sites where residents can report potholes. If you believe your car was damaged due to negligence on the part of the city or the Minnesota Department of Transportation, you can file a claim, but you have to prove that the pothole was reported before your vehicle was damaged.

A 2021 study by TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, reported that poor Minnesota road conditions could cost $1.8 billion annually, and every $100 million spent on improving the road conditions could reduce traffic fatalities by 44 people and serious traffic injuries by 760 people.

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