20-02-21 Potholes 5 Roland WF.jpg

Freeze-thaw cycles have eroded state Highway 75, but road conditions are not “abnormal,” according to ITD.

The Idaho Transportation Department will send out repair crews in the coming months to fill the sizeable potholes that have formed along the highway between Hailey and Ketchum, according to ITD spokeswoman Jessica Williams.

“As weather patterns stabilize in the coming months, and less focus is needed on snow removal operations, motorists will see more work being done on these repairs along [Highway] 75,” Williams said. “It’s important to note that pothole repairs need to be done during dry and warm weather.”

From a warmer-than-average January to the single digits this week, seesawing temperatures across the Wood River Valley have taken a visible toll on the highway. Potholes—which arise due to the freezing and thawing of water beneath the road surface—are nothing new to the valley, ITD District 4 Design Construction Manager Walter Burnside said.

“I wouldn’t say this year is particularly worse than previous years—I can’t say the pavement condition is abnormal,” he said.

The ITD’s recent protocol for repairing potholes along Highway 75 has been sectioning off mile-long stretches of road, beginning at Timmerman Junction, and working north. Crews have generally focused on the southbound lane first.

“When the weather fully warms to stable temperatures, our crews then engage in a systematic approach where they follow a stretch of roadway, repairing each hole they find along the way,” Williams said.

To fill potholes, crews need to expel water from the holes, torch the edges, fill the holes with cold-patch and top them off with gravel.

Hailey Street Superintendent Kelly Schwarz said pothole patching is already underway in the south valley.

“We will continue to monitor the roads for more potholes, and encourage the public to call 208-788-9830, extension 1, to report any pothole they have concerns with,” Schwarz said.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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