Hilliard's road-patching warriors will be working at least through the end of March, according to city leaders.

"There is always work to do every winter," said Dave Denney, operations crew leader for Hilliard's service department.

"Our city crews handle most pothole repairs in-house. However, more permanent depth repairs are performed under the city's annual street-maintenance and rehabilitation program," said Larry Lester, deputy director of public services.

Pothole repairs are funded through the street-construction and maintenance-repair fund, from which $60,000 is budgeted this year. The budget for the street-maintenance and rehabilitation program is $100,000, Lester said.

Denney said Hilliard motorists aren't likely to encounter the craters that reportedly have bent rims and flattened tires on some central Ohio freeways because the volume, speed and weight of vehicles on Hilliard roads are but a fraction of those on larger arterial roads in Columbus.

"I don't think they are any worse this year than others, but it's bad every year," he said, as the freeze-and-thaw cycle crumbles asphalt.

Denney estimates about 70 percent of Hilliard's roads receive a touch of one kind or another each winter.

Most of the pothole-filling work is the direct result of residents calling into the city to report potholes, he said.

"Our priorities are responding to call-ins or residents who request a work order online."

Online requests at hilliardohio.gov are preferred, Denney said, but residents still can call 614-876-7361 and dial ext. 706 to report road conditions.

"Our crews are on the lookout, too, for bad spots as we move around the city," he said.

Potholes are filled either with a cold mix or by using a mixture of crushed stone and emulsion, Denney said.

Small crevasses are filled with cold mix, a cheaper but temporary fix, while those at least 3 inches or greater in depth are repaired with the stone-emulsion mix, Denney said.

Two tons of crushed stone and 200 gallons of emulsion are consumed in 8 hours as workers spray the mixture onto the street surface, he said.

The temperature must be above freezing to apply the stone-emulsion mix but cold mix can be used anytime, Denney said.

Cooler temperatures are optimal, Denney said, as warming temperatures cause the stone-emulsion mix to remain tacky for longer periods and passing vehicles will pick up the fragments of the crushed stone when passing over it.

"(It) can be a little messy for cars but it is the most efficient and cost-effective repair," he said.