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Pothole problems infesting Butte roads

By Donovan Hill, KTVM Reporter, dhill@ktvm.com
Published On: Feb 22 2013 05:33:07 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 22 2013 06:58:29 PM MST
BUTTE, Mont -

The winter season can be hard on Montana roads and drivers. Fluctuating temperatures combined with snow and ice can quickly lead to potholes popping up all over the road.

"I hate them, they're everywhere here in Butte, and everywhere you go, on every street," said Cecila Dunfee, a resident of Butte.

Those patches of missing pavement that at times can even seem to swallow your vehicle. It's a problem that keeps the Butte Public Works department very busy and well into the summer season.

"We have every year 2- or 3,000 potholes, maybe more, and they're on the list and we'll fix them. It just might take 'til August because there are so many," said Larry Hunter, the operations manager for the Butte Public Works Department.

But fixing the pavement isn't as easy as just popping it back in.

"Part of the problem is we get melts, water runs through the cracks freezes again and pops the pavement out," added Hunter.

Public Works officials say the problem is more of a time issue then a money issue.

"Well it’s time, we only have so many crews to do this. If we have 3,000 potholes to fix -- or more than -- there is just only so much you can do in a day," said Hunter.

NBC Montana learned that Public Works officials have only two ways of dealing with potholes -- a quick way and a long way. The long way can't be performed during the colder months because of how the colder temperatures affect the chemicals being used. But also because the long way would take a majority of the day for just one or two potholes.

"I just don't have enough crews or personnel to fix them all in one year, it's physically impossible," concluded Hunter.