There is no clearer sign of spring in central Ohio than pothole season.

Reynoldsburg residents can report potholes by calling 614-322-5800 to give the location and traveling direction of the road or lane needing repaired.

As of Feb. 20, the city had received about 35 pothole complaints, according to Reynoldsburg street superintendent Keith Kundtz.

And while it may relieve some frustration, posting complaints or locations of potholes in the city won't help get them repaired; posts to social media are not tracked.

"We pride ourselves that the low number of calls is due to the great staff that plow and salt the roads," Kundtz said. "They are the same ones filling the potholes after the storm and probably saw them (before getting complaints.)"

The freeze-and-thaw cycle of Ohio winters weakens the pavement, he said. That means roads with a high volume of traffic are particularly prone to potholes. Both Palmer and Oak Valley roads have had high numbers of potholes this season and both are included in the $4 million the city plans to spend this year on street projects, Kundtz said.

Taylor Road also has been riddled with potholes, but it is not on the 2019 repaving list.

"Water gets into the cracks then freezes and expands. When it thaws, you are left with pieces that get pushed out by traffic," Kundtz said.

So far, he said, Reynoldsburg has purchased more than 32 tons of cold-patch mix at $140 per ton.

"Typically, we purchase six tons at a time and I would expect the need for a couple more loads before permanent repairs can be made," he said.

Cold patching -- quickly shoveling a mix of patch material into a pothole -- is used as a temporary fix until warmer weather allows for a more permeant fix.

Hot patching is a more labor-intensive process that involves pouring a heated asphalt mix into a hole and compacting the surface, Kundtz said.

"The cold patch is engineered to stay pliable and hot patch turns solid like a rock when it cools," he said. "That's why asphalt plants shut down during the winter months -- it's too costly and difficult to keep asphalt hot all the way to your work site before it hardens.

"Temperature, rain and traffic play a big role in the lifespan of a repair. While cold-patching is only intended to be a temporary fix, I have seen low-traffic-volume roads hold for years and roads like Main Street only hold a day."

A 2016 study by AAA found that potholes cost drivers an average of $3 billion annually in vehicle repairs. Tires, wheel rims and suspensions are common areas damaged by driving over a pothole, the study said.

AAA recommends that drivers who cannot avoid a pothole should slow down as much as possible, release the brake and straighten the steering wheel before the car strikes the pothole.

Reynoldsburg maintains about 112 miles of public roadway.

There are fewer than a dozen staffers in the street and storm water department but most repairs are made within a few days, Kundtz said.

"Most times, we only have needed about four guys to keep up with the potholes," he said. "We ask drivers to be courteous and watch out for any road crews while they are working. Leave a little earlier, put the phone down and remember that we are trying to help."

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