Rainy 2018 in Arkansas Brought Big Pothole Problems

January 2, 2019

An unusually rainy year for most counties in Arkansas has left the state’s roadways marked with potholes.

Eric Petty, the manager of Little Rock’s operations division, told The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that 2018 was the city’s sixth-rainiest year on record.

Water can weaken asphalt by seeping into or bubbling up underneath the material, Petty said. The resulting potholes can damage vehicles by blowing out tires or knocking vehicles out of alignment, he said.

Little Rock saw more than 2,800 potholes in 2018 that cost the city more than $380,000 in labor, equipment and materials, Petty said.

North Little Rock spent $60,000 in materials to fix the year’s potholes, compared to $50,000 on materials in 2017, city spokesman Nathan Hamilton said. Jonesboro spent around $100,000 on pothole repairs, according to the city’s street director, Steve Tippitt.

The rainfall and the winter weather have caused the most damage to streets.

Potholes are harder to fix when it’s raining or cold, said Alan Walter, a construction engineer for the Arkansas Department of Transportation’s District 10, which covers the Jonesboro area.

“When it’s raining every day, you can’t go fix the one you’ve got, and a little one turns into a big one,” Walter said.

The state Transportation Department doesn’t have a specific budget for potholes, but the department’s 10 districts each receive between $18 million to $20 million for road repair, said agency spokesman Danny Straessle. The agency plans to ask the state Legislature for $478 million for highway maintenance, he said.

“There are a lot of (potholes), and we wish we had enough money to take care of them all,” Straessle said.

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