My colleague Kari Bray noted I was working on a pothole story and sent me this:
“Fun fact: The Pothole That Never Dies is located at the stoplight before Highway 532 merges onto I-5 south, east of Stanwood. It’s been filled in countless times, and always, always comes back. And it’s a terrible pothole. I have no love for it. … It gets filled, and then it’s a hole again. Like the pothole fairies are coming and emptying it out at night or something. Just to mess with us humans. … I’d definitely be curious to know how often they patch it and why it keeps reappearing.”
I live to serve, my friend.
Tom Pearce is a spokesman for the Washington State Department of Transportation and got us the scoop from the maintenance team for that area. The pothole is definitely “a challenge,” he said.
“The reason it keeps reappearing is the temporary patching material we use during the winter, called cold patch asphalt, which is pretty much what it sounds like — asphalt that is not hot when we place it. The cold patch is only a temporary fix that can be used year-round, but moisture and cold temperatures limit its durability. Our crews keep an eye on this spot and repair it when possible,” Pearce said.
“Permanent repairs and paving projects use hot mix asphalt, which also is what it sounds like. Hot mix asphalt, or HMA, is much more durable; but to use it, we need dry conditions and a temperature of at least 45 degrees or warmer. Because of these weather limits, asphalt plants shut down for the winter, so HMA usually is not available between November and February.”
The good news? That location is on the list for a permanent fix this summer.
“So that should take care of it,” Pearce said.
Unless there really are pothole fairies…